All young refugees to be given a Young Scot card

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Charity promises to help refugees as it launches new three year strategy to make Scotland the best place in the world for everyone to grow up in

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7th June 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

National youth organisation Young Scot has promised that all young refugees arriving in Scotland will be given a Young Scot National Entitlement Card.

The card, which is carried by 620,000 11-26 year olds, will allow those arriving in Scotland access to the same vital services as those already living here.

This includes being able to officially prove their age when obtaining goods and services such as a bank account; it gives them access to libraries and leisure facilities and also lets them take advantage of benefits and discounts such as cheaper grocery shopping at Co-op supermarkets.

Announcing the new initiative Louise MacDonald, chief executive of Young Scot, said it is the charity’s mission to make sure nobody is isolated in Scotland.

“We were all struck by the images and stories of refugees risking their lives to make a better a future for themselves and their families,” she said.

All young refugees to be given a Young Scot cardLouise MacDonald

it’s a small sign to our new young Scots that they are one of us, with access to the same benefits and services as over 620,000 other young people living in Scotland

“At Young Scot we want every young person in Scotland, wherever they have come from, to feel valued. We need to give them confidence about their own future, and the information and access they need to make their own decisions.

“On a practical level, the card enables access to a host of benefits; discounts; rewards; public transport discounts; access services such as libraries and leisure facilities in their local authority; and proof of age to access other goods and services such as a bank account.

“On another level, it’s a small sign to our new young Scots that they are one of us, with access to the same benefits and services as over 620,000 other young people living in Scotland.”

To ensure the Young Scot card is part of every refugees welcome to Scotland the charity is working with the Scottish Refugee Council to reach out to partners across local authorities to assist young refugees now living in Scotland.

John Wilkes, chief executive, Scottish Refugee Council, said: “For over 30 years the Scottish Refugee Council has been working with refugees of all ages and we are particularly proud of the help and support we have given to young refugees.

“Whether here with their family or here alone young refugees deserve the same chances and opportunities as all other young people. That is why we welcome Young Scot’s commitment to work with us in supporting young refugees.

“Scotland will always extend a welcoming hand to those who desperately need our help, especially in the case of young children, and everyone needs to be at the heart of that welcome.”

Meanwhile, Young Scot has launched an ambitious new three-year strategy.

It sets out how the charity plans to help Scotland become the greatest place in the world for young people to live.

Overall it aims to activate, empower and connect young people in order to support them in making meaning of their lives as they grow up.

To activate young people Young Scot will double the number of people taking part in its digital creative modern apprenticeship programme.

To connect them it aims to grow the number of Young Scot cardholders and trebling the number of Rewards users, including targeting greater uptake among those who have left school but are under the age of 26. As a priority it will look at using the platform ways to ‘level the playing field’ for disadvantaged young people in a non-stigmatising way.

And to empower young people the charity will continue to challenge negative perceptions of young people through its awards, develop its partnership with #iwill to share more positive stories of social action led by young people and work to support the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People in 2018.

Commenting on the strategy, Dame Sue Bruce, chair of Young Scot, said: "Young Scot believes young people are not Scotland’s future, they are powerful and positive assets to our communities here and now.

“We’ve engaged thousands of young people online and offline to explore what contribution we can make to their lives,” she said. “We’ve spoken to stakeholders across the country to identify how we could support the achievement of their outcomes.

“We’ve commissioned independent research to identify where we could enhance our impact, particularly in terms of tackling inequalities.

“We’ve reviewed all the insights into young people’s experiences we’ve gathered over the past three years. We’ve used all this to develop an ambitious strategy for the next three years, and to test and refine it before creating this publication.”