Cairngorms Youth Steering Group: actions following the launch of the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto

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After months of hard work and travelling, the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto was launched at the EUROPARC Conference in the Cairngorms National Park on Friday 21st September 2018.

The call to action was put out by the young people who brought the manifesto to fruition asking for organisations and communities to engage with their young people to create new opportunities for living, learning and working in rural communities and protected areas.

In response to this call for action the Cairngorms National Park Authority board has agreed on a project to develop a youth group in the Cairngorms to take forward some of the recommendations of the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto. This is the Cairngorms National Park Youth Project.

The Cairngorms Youth Steering Group

Nineteen young people aged 16-30 have been recruited to form a steering group that will co-design a Cairngorms National Park Youth Group:

  • To be the voice of young people in the Park.
  • To develop a procedure to fund young people’s ideas about living, learning and working in the Park.
  • To put on exciting and innovative events for young people in the Park.

The steering group continues to work with Finnish friends from Rieska LEADER, Keskipiste LEADER and Ravakka LEADER and other partners at a series of exciting and inspiring workshops and events :

They will also attend the 2019 EUROPARC Conference in Latvia from 24-27 September!

The steering group has been working hard and have completed a number of important tasks :

  • Agreed on a name for the project, youth group, and a project hashtag.
  • Developed a model for the proposed youth group.
  • Devised a proposed remit for the youth group including guidelines on how it should operate.
  • Organised an exciting and inspiring workshop for our transnational partners.

Strengthening Communities Conference

As part of the HIE Strengthening Communities Conference youth members of the Cairngorms NP Youth steering group facilitated group discussions at a fringe event for conference delegates.

Here are some highlights of the questions they responded to:

What are the best ways for your community or organisation to engage with young people in your local area?

  • Go to where young people are
  • Let them organise
  • Give opportunities to influence
  • Connect people through nature
  • Get young people involved from an earlier age – to be a valued part of the community
  • Giving young people ownership of projects

What ideas can you think of to deal with the issues expressed by young people in the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto around living or learning or working or youth empowerment?

  • Electric bikes and more charging points for electric vehicles
  • Stronger broadband – internet access creates more opportunities
  • Integration of ages in a social setting – bring people together allowing them to collaborate
  • Splitting big buildings into smaller affordable units for young people.
  • More nature education
  • Internships during summer for students – related to heritage and conservation
  • Encourage and foster entrepreneurship – ‘Fit for Work’ sessions
  • Strong links between education providers and job providers.
  • Break the ‘who you know’ mentality – ensure it is fair – avoid nepotism.
  • The Manifesto needs to be taken into schools not just relying on social media to do the job