Encouraging more people from all walks of life to get involved in the political process will be the key focus when Easterhouse hosts the Scottish Parliament on Monday March 16th at the local Arts centre The Bridge on Westerhouse Road.
Parliament Days aim to take the Parliament out of Edinburgh and into communities around Scotland, inspiring local people to take an interest in and engage directly with the Parliament and its work.
Initiated by the Parliament in 2012, Presiding Officer the Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP says she wants to see even greater focus on public engagement across Scotland.
The Presiding Officer said:
“We know that the people of Scotland want to be involved in the political process and that is why I want the Parliament to get out and about across Scotland. The Scottish Parliament belongs to all the people of Scotland and Easterhouse offers a great opportunity for the community to let MSPs know about the issues that matter to them.”
Parliament Day invites people to see the Parliament first-hand, be it ‘official’ business, or on a less formal level, and helps the Parliament listen to local people.
The Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee continues its inquiry into social isolation on Monday 16th March. It will hold a formal evidence session, as well as meeting with a range of local people and organisations.
The Committee launched its inquiry into age and social isolation launched in January 2015. It is calling for views from young and older people experiencing loneliness, and the organisations working to support them. The inquiry comes as current research points to social isolation and loneliness and its potentially devastating effect on mental and physical health, particularly in older and younger people.
Committee Convener Margaret McCulloch MSP commented:
“If you are an older or younger person living in Easterhouse and experiencing loneliness, we understand that the effects can be devastating. We know that sometimes feelings of loneliness can be even more intense when you live in a big city and are surrounded by people. We want to reach out to you, understand your views and encourage positive action on your behalf.
“We know there’s a strong sense of community in Easterhouse and many people really look out for each other. Could the Committee learn from people and organisations in Easterhouse on ways to tackle loneliness? We plan to meet organisations using innovative ways to help lonely people in Scotland access the kind of social opportunities many of us take for granted.”
More details will be announced in the coming weeks on the Easterhouse Parliament Day activities.
Parliament Days to date:
- 23 February 2015 - Dumfries
- 8 December 2014 - Levenmouth
- 24 February 2014 – Dumbarton
- 4 November 2013 – Arbroath
- 21 June 2013 – Stirling
- 15 March 2013 – Stornoway
- 5 November 2012 – Hawick
For more information, please visit www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentdays
You can also follow us on twitter @scotparl and @SP_EqualOpps and #PDEasterhouse
*The term ‘young and older people’ is generally defined as those under-25 and over-50 years. However, as part of its call for views, the Equal Opportunities Committee will aim to establish a working definition of ‘older and young people.’
Recent studies have shown that:
- Loneliness can double the impact of obesity, and extreme loneliness can increase an older person’s chances of premature death by 14%.
- 59% of adults aged over 52 who report poor health say they feel lonely some of the time or often.
- Lacking social connections can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.