Children involved in the StreetsAhead Tranent project are celebrating after collecting a top award at the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning.

A delegation of children from the project collected the Children and Young People’s Award from Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning.

The project was launched in 2016 as partnership between Fa’side Area Partnership, East Lothian Council, Children’s Parliament, Recharge Youth Centre, enjoyleisure, local businesses, groups and volunteers to explore children’s views and experiences of their local community and built environment; examining how these factors impact on children’s rights and wellbeing.

The judges remarked that they were very “impressed with the depth of the project. The consideration given as to how best to engage with children was first class. With special mention to the Children’s Parliament and the council for their support, this project excelled in creativity. In particular through the creation of a mural (36x4 feet). The role that young people can play in improving their places was taken seriously and in the council’s words ‘the kids held them to account’. All their hard work was rewarded through the children representing Scotland at the United Nations in Geneva. Overall, the children benefited in seeing their own confidence growing – both in terms of how they can ‘change their place’ as well as their ability to present their points to a range of audiences.”

Simon Davie, Area Manager, said:

“In the Year of Young People 2018, Fa’side Area Partnership are immensely proud of our amazing children who created the StreetsAhead Tranent mural back in 2016. Our children have shown a huge amount of commitment, effort, learning and development over the past two years.

“This has culminated in our children influencing the Scottish Cabinet to meet with children on an annual basis and report back on the action they are taking nationally and influencing the United Nations to include children in the planning and design of their Day of General Discussion on the rights of the child. So, our children are in a very real sense changing national and international policy.

“But more importantly, they inspired local community members to make a difference in their community. Blooming Belters is a group of local volunteers who were inspired by the mural to change the look of the High Street by bringing back colour and life, by re-introducing bees into Tranent High Street with their wonderful planters and hanging baskets – all of which you can see depicted in their amazing mural sited outside the entrance to Ross High School.”

Paul Reynolds, Head Teacher of Ross High School, said:

“The staff and pupils at Ross High are all very proud of the work our young people have been involved in. They are a credit to the school and this community. We look forward to continuing this work with the group in school ensuring all pupils have their say in continuing to improve Ross High.”

Alan Bell, Manager of Recharge Youth and Community Facility, said:

“It is great seeing the fantastic work of the children being recognised. The hard work that all 16 children put in in creating the mural was phenomenal and has allowed for people to see a unique way in involving children in planning the future of their town whilst also building up community pride and leaving a legacy that will be there for years to come.”

Cathy McCulloch, Children’s Parliament Co-Director, said:

“Children's Parliament has been delighted to work in East Lothian in a unique and dynamic partnership, which has had such impact locally, nationally and internationally.  The commitment from Fa'Side Area Partnership, Recharge and council colleagues to make children's participation meaningful has made this project the success it has been.  We look forward to our continuing partnership with such inspiring children, colleagues and young people in Tranent and beyond.”

Published: Tuesday, 27th November 2018