We are one big family: A different democratic future

If you are given an opportunity, you should take it.

Flynn, Member of Children’s Parliament, age 10

In November 2023, Members of Children’s Parliament were invited to take part in a three-day residential as part of the ‘Democracy Matters’ consultation. Using a creative, children’s human rights-based approach, the Members of Children’s Parliament were tasked to build their own town – which they called Confidence Kingdom – where children were involved in decision-making processes.

For Flynn, age 10, this was his first Children’s Parliament residential. He has shared some of his experiences in this blog.

Flynn's self portrait, including colourful bunting, the Democracy Matters model town and a happy Alpaca.

On the first day, we met everyone at the Attic and got settled in before building our community. At the start, we didn’t know what our town would look like but when we began to build the trees and buildings, it started to take shape. We built it into a heart shape to represent that we are one big family. We placed the homes in position and when it was complete, it looked like a perfect place you would want to be in. I felt proud of what we achieved together.

We also had fun times together and visited the animals at the petting zoo, I loved the alpacas and the funny goats! We also had a movie night too, with popcorn.

Flynn, Member of Children's Parliament, meets alpacas.

On the residential, we learned it’s children’s right to be involved in decision-making. Not just adults know what they’re doing. Children have good ideas that need to be shared. It’s important that children make decisions for their future; it’s not the adult’s future, it is ours.

Flynn's model building for the Democracy Matters model town.

The most important thing I learned from the residential is that if you are given an opportunity, you should take it. I learned a lot on the residential including what are the most important qualities for decision-making. You shouldn’t be scared to speak up, but you should also be patient and listen well.

I also learned a bit about myself, and I know I can do more than I thought I could. The Children’s Parliament Team helped me feel more confident in myself and made me feel valued.

Children's Parliament group discuss ideas around a participation cake.

This was my first residential with Children’s Parliament. At first, I felt a bit strange being away from home for three days. I was a bit nervous before I went because I didn’t know everyone that well. People I had met at online meetings before the residential became my friends and I had a great time when I was there.

Children's Parliament group sitting around a map of Scotland.

Being involved in the Democracy Matters project, I felt that I definitely had a say and that felt important to have my voice heard. I felt proud to be representing my school and the children in Scotland in this project.

When we met Tom Arthur MSP, I felt he was definitely going to do something about what we had said. He was really interested to hear our ideas about involving children in decision-making. I trusted him when he said he would put forward our ideas to the Scottish Government.

To find out more about what Flynn and his fellow Members of Children’s Parliament got up to, check out our Democracy Matters project page, where you can find our report of the project.

Date: 27th March 2024
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