The people of Leith are being given the chance to choose where local government money ends up under an exciting new plan. The scheme called “£eith Decides” will give people in the community the power to decide exactly where their money is going. Run by the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership, the scheme has around £16,000 available for local groups.
By Robert McTighe
The Scottish Youth Parliament met last week at Holyrood to discuss banning a device intended to combat anti-social behaviour among youths.
The youth parliament met to discuss a variety of topics concerning young people in Scotland, however, discussion of the device was top of the agenda. The device, dubbed ‘The Mosquito’ by its inventor Howard Stapleton, emits a high-pitch frequency noise that can only be heard by people below the age of 25. The device was designed to disperse groups of youths loitering in public places.
Not everyone is happy with the mosquito device and there have been many people opposed to the idea. Scottish Youth Parliament member Andrew Deans, 17, from Aberdeen raised a motion to have the device banned in Scotland. Deans said “The device stigmatises and generalises young people as bad people, this is unfair”, he went on to say “most young people aren’t bad, and they behave well, this devices however punishes every young person.”
Deans went on to say that other methods could be used to reduce youth crime: “More initiatives could be created to give young people more things to do, more police could be employed and asked to patrol areas, there are a variety of things than can be used apart from the mosquito”.
Several other objections against the device were heard in the youth parliament during the debate, primarily that the noise can be dangerous to very young people and the noise is actually amplified in the hearing aids of the deaf.
It is unknown exactly how many mosquito devices there are due to the device being used by private properties but Deans estimated that there were roughly 3,000 in the country.
Local city councils presently have devolved powers to ban mosquito devices in their areas. The city councils of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow have currently banned the device. Andrew Deans hopes to make sure there is a ban all over the country, “We would like to extend the ban because this affects young people all over the country and it simply persecutes the vast majority of young people that are law abiding”.
The initiative was launched as there are currently very few ethnic minorities working as foster carers. Another aim of the initiative was to make sure that children from different religious, cultural and ethnic groups were looked after by foster carers with similar backgrounds.
“We need lots of people from various backgrounds and different walks of life to become foster carers to be sure that the service reflect the cultural make-up of our society.” Said Councillor Marilyn MacLaren , who is the City Children and Families Leader.
Andy Thomson the team leader for foster care for Edinburgh council said “3% of Edinburgh is an ethnic minority, there should be equal reflections of ethnic diversity in the city.”
The push to have more ethnic minorities in foster care is part of a much wider campaign by Edinburgh City Council to attract people in to foster care as there is a severe shortage of foster carers in Edinburgh, where more are required to provide children with safe homes.
There are 300 foster carers in Edinburgh with 500 children in care, “We need to increase our supply as demand increases, we want to stay as a local resource for local children, we want people to return home and children stay in Edinburgh so they can stay in school” Andy Thomson said.
The campaign to increase awareness for the need for foster carers has seen a variety of methods used with high profile adverts on radio, in newspapers and television adverts on STV during peak viewing hours such as during the X Factor.
Cllr MacLaren said “Our foster care team are working hard o encourage more people to become carers and this campaign will highlight the benefits that support from different cultural and religious backgrounds can provide for a child.”
“A carer can have a huge impact on a child’s life, improving their confidence and helping them towards a happy future –it’s a very special role.”