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Calum Becomes Tenth Highland Youth Convener

Calum Maclennan (18) from Alness took up the role of Highland Youth Convener this week and started the job by saying he was looking forward to spending the next 12 months working with the Highland Youth Parliament, Area Youth Forum and Pupil Councils in secondary schools across the Highlands.

As the tenth Youth Convener, Calum will be based at High Life Highland’s Head Offices in Inverness fulfilling the bursary position until August 2017.

Paying tribute to Kat Bateson the outgoing Youth Convener, her successor commented, “Kat has done a great job over the last twelve months in the position and there is a lot for which she can be proud.

“Kat has given me an insight into the roles and responsibilities of the job and I am really looking forward to continuing her great work while obviously doing it in my own style, with my own twist.

Speaking about his appointment, the former Alness Academy pupil said, “I am honoured to be chosen as the new Highland Youth Convener.

“Being the voice for young people is a massive responsibility but I’m ready to take on the role which I am sure may have its challenges at times.

Referring to one of the areas in which he has a personal interest, the new Youth Convener said, “I’ve noticed that mental health is becoming more of a concern for young people. This could be due to the fact that people either think it’s not an issue which affects young people or because it’s not a topic often talked about.

“Over the course of my year as Youth Convener, I want to open discussions about this issue and hopefully start the process of people understanding and talking more openly about mental health in young people. If I can even start the conversation during my term – then I will have achieved something.

Concluding, the new Youth Convener stated, “I will maintain existing relationships set up by my predecessors as well as looking to develop new connections across the Highlands.  Ultimately I look forward to playing my role in making the highlands the best place for young people to live, grow up, work and flourish.

Wishing her successor well, outgoing Youth Convener Kat Bateson said, “Calum is going to do a great job in taking on the roll this year and I have every confidence that he will be a quality representative young people can rely on as he progresses developing their voice across the Highlands.

Leaving the post to take up a new role as Student Engagement Assistant with Highlands and Islands Student Association and reflecting on her year in post Kat concluded, “I have absolutely loved my year as Highland Youth Convener, which has given me new opportunities for the future and equipped me with the skills I need for my new job.”

Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson said, “The Highland Youth Convenor post is unique in Scotland and over the last decade each of the Convenors has played an important role in helping us better understand and engage with issues important to our young people so I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all as we welcome our 10th Convenor to the job.

“Calum brings with him great enthusiasm, knowledge and experience in youth matters which will be valuable in representing the views of young people. I have no doubt he will rise to the challenge and prove to be a most able and persuasive champion who will have a direct input into our policy and decision making process. I look forward to working with him over the coming year.”

Paying tribute to outgoing Youth Convener Kat Bateson, The Highland Council Convenor, Councillor Isobel McCallum paid tribute to Kat. She said, “On behalf of the council I would like to thank Kat for the important role she has played over the last year, particularly in enhancing the links between organisations and partners already established by previous Youth Conveners. From day one she has had an impact, getting fully involved in her role and drawing attention to issues important to the young people she represents. I would like to pay particular tribute to her enthusiasm, eloquence and hard work  in ensuring the views of her peers have been heard and I wish her all the very best for the future.”