The Winter (November) Young Scotland Programme marked the Young Programme's 100th event since it began in 2002. Thirty-four delegates gathered together for three intense days of papers, discussion, group work, and powerful 'Testimony' speakers.

On the final evening, Liam Charles from North Lanarkshire Council was named Scotland Young Thinker of the Year 2018 (a joint award with the winner at the Autumn YSP). Liam's Argument paper, a searingly honest account of the trials, tribulations and joys of becoming a 'kinship carer', won praise for its elegance, humour, and seamless transition from the personal to the facts and figures, which he utilised to great effect. Good use of pause and emphasis and excellent eye contact meant the paper was delivered with panache. Helen Duncan, representing the Scottish Government, took the runner-up title. Her paper on the perfect storm of an increasingly ageing population and smaller workforce was written in a warm and accessible style with a naturally flowing argument, excellent use of statistics and nice touches of humour. Scott McFarlane, CYBG, was highly commended for his excoriating paper on the education system, delivered in a charismatic, clear, theatrical style and with great command of the script. There were two commendations: Kyra Lamont (Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service) whose compassionate paper on destruction of the Amazonian rainforest to the detriment of a vital ecosystem and persecution of indigenous peoples; and Grant McPhillips (Scottish Government) for his deeply felt, authoritative paper which shone a light into the inadequacies of temporary accommodation for vulnerable 16 to 25-year olds. Kyra's presentation on the benefits of singing took the award for the best 90 Second Challenge.

The group challenge was won by Group E: Helen Duncan (Scottish Government), Andrew Harvie (Historic Environment Scotland), Laura Kerr (Perth and Kinross Council), Rachel Treasurer (Highlands and Islands Enterprise). Their presentation on forgiveness was praised for its lively role play and its ability to encompass the serious, large issues and daily trivial annoyances. Click here for photos.

Sadly, the 100th Young Programme event also marked the first in its history which was not attended by founder and chair, Kenneth Roy. Kenneth died at the beginning of November. He is much missed by his friends and colleagues. A memorial service will be held next year.

The dates for the 2019 Young Local Authority of the Year have just been announced: 3rd and 4th April. Click here for brochure and to book online.

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