Holyrood welcomes grassroots organisations for unique conference


Holyrood will welcome more than 100 attendees from local voluntary and charity organisations from across Scotland tomorrow as part of its activities to mark a decade of devolution.

The conference is thought to be the only one of its kind organised by a Parliament. It aims to help smaller, local groups campaign more effectively, and to increase the opportunities for such groups to have their voice heard at Holyrood.

The day will focus on practical advice and guidance, looking at what works and what does not in terms of successful and effective campaigning.

Speaking ahead of the event, the Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: “Ten years on from the establishment of the modern Scottish Parliament, we are seeking to renew our engagement programme to ensure we are targeting our activities at as wide a range of people and organisations as possible.

"As far as we know, in terms of the target audience, aims and objectives, this conference is unique; nothing quite like it has been delivered by any other parliament, assembly or legislature before.

"This conference is an excellent demonstration of our innovative approach to helping people have their voice heard in their Parliament.”


Welcome from the Presiding Officer

  • Clerk/Chief Executive Paul Grice: Introduction to the Scottish Parliament
  • Patrick Harvie MSP: MSPs
  • Minister for Parliament, Bruce Crawford MSP: The Scottish Government
  • The Presiding Officer chairs a Q&A session

Followed by

  • Susan Deacon, former MSP: Experiences inside and outside the Parliament
  • Michelle Stewart: Campaigning
  • Jim Tolson MSP, member of the Local Government and Communities Committee: Work of Parliamentarians
  • The Presiding Officer chairs a Q&A session

The above sessions will be webcast live on Holyrood.tv.

Followed by

  • Workshop A will cover Committees and Public Petitions – chaired by Frank McAveety MSP, Convener of the Public Petitions Committee, and Patrick Harvie MSP, Convener of the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee
  • Workshop B will cover Cross-Party Groups and Running a Campaign – chaired by Jackie Baillie MSP and Margo MacDonald MSP.

Photos of the day will be available at www.scottishparliamentphoto.com. Please contact the Media Relations Office for the password to the photos.

Activities undertaken to improve and expand our public engagement strategy, include:

  • A Community Partnerships Project, which has seen us working with three organisations who work with groups of people traditionally under-represented in Scottish politics, with a very similar aim to today’s event: helping those organisations to understand the Parliament’s processes and functions and enabling them to engage effectively with the Parliament
  • Doubling our capacity for schools and other educational institutions to visit Holyrood, leading to 11,000 young people passing through our doors in the last reporting year
  • Free guided-tour service, meaning it is now absolutely free of charge for anybody to walk through Holyrood’s doors, to take a tour of the Parliament’s public and private areas or even to come in to view proceedings in this Chamber, or in one of the Parliament’s Committee rooms.
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