A new hub for young people is to open in Stornoway on Friday (21 February), as part of a national celebration for care-experienced young people.
Care Day takes place each February across Scotland and is organised by Who Cares? Scotland, the national third-sector membership and advocacy organisation. Care Day raises awareness and understanding of care, and celebrates the talents of care-experienced young people and their friends.
The launch of the hub will be accompanied by the first flying of the new Western Isles care flag, which has been designed by young people. It features flowers representing the blossoming of potential and footsteps to represent the care journey.
The flag will be raised at 10.30am on Friday at the council offices on Sandwick Road to symbolise both the power of the voices of young people and the fact that Care Day is a time for the whole community to show its support.
Joining young people on the day will be Paul Sullivan, participation, policy and influencing manager with the Independent Care Review Secretariat. He’ll be speaking with young people, professionals, parents and carers about what is being proposed by the review for the future of care in Scotland.
Tom Boyd of Who Cares? Scotland said the hub, supported by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, reflects the importance of creating spaces that young people feel they can shape. It is planned as a place where they can develop skills and confidence and build a sense of belonging and ownership.
He said: “It’s going to be a real partnership-based space, where group participatory opportunities and individual support for care experienced and other young people in the Western Isles takes place.”
The hub will be officially re-named on Care Day by the young people, who have also chosen the paint and decorations. It gives a home base for groups such as Young Islanders, secondary-age care-experienced young islanders. Also using the hub will be the Kickin’ Club, and the Transitions Group, which supports young people in the summer break between Primary into Secondary School.
An independent advocacy service for young people on the islands is also to be offered. This independent advocacy service sits alongside partnerships with services across the Comhairle that are supporting a growing range of participatory opportunities for children and young people, including the clubs and groups which will call the new hub home.