Annual Joint Meeting Held

Wednesday, 21 February 2024 14:28

Dumfries and Galloway Council held the fourth annual joint meeting with Dumfries and Galloway’s Youth Council on Wednesday 7February.

The meeting brought together elected members, youth councillors and members of the Scottish Youth Parliament from across every community in the region to develop actions that will improve opportunities for young people.

As part of the meeting, reports were presented on:

  • children’s human rights in Dumfries and Galloway
  • the development of a new five-year Youth Work Strategy for Dumfries and Galloway Council
  • progress of the joint action plan from the previous meeting in November 2022

Following the joint meeting in November 2022, Dumfries and Galloway Council has implemented automatic enrolment for young people to receive their Under 22 free bus travel card through schools (with parent or guardian permission) and enhanced training for probationary teachers relevant to young people’s mental health and well-being. There has also been a commitment to delivering free swimming and skating sessions throughout the year at all council managed leisure facilities which is due to be implemented by summer 2024.

For this year's meeting, decision makers participated in workshops themed around the top five issues identified within the most recent 10,000 Voices research: smoking and vaping, diet and body image, bullying, mental health and, money, budgeting and the cost-of-living. Each group received an expert input followed by the discussion and agreement of actions relevant to young people in Dumfries and Galloway. The actions agreed are:

Diet & Body Image

  • increased health and well-being inputs delivered in schools including through assemblies and the youth information workers to raise awareness and understanding of diet and body image and the supports available
  • utilise packages and programmes available through organisations such as the Mental Health Foundation (Diet and Body Image Ambassador Programme) to deliver peer mentoring and education around diet and body image

Smoking and Vaping

  • a blanket policy to ban vaping on all Council properties, facilities and grounds
  • create an Anti-Vaping Champion peer education programme for young people to become advocates to reduce harms associated with vaping

Mental Health

  • for Dumfries and Galloway Council to sign up to the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) SeeMe National Campaign
  • further roll out and development of the Feeling Sh*t Survival Kit to ensure young people and their wider families have access to accurate information and support

Cost of Living

  • an enhanced, more consistent approach to health and well-being curriculum inputs across all secondary schools (through PSE, PSHE, Guidance, Well-being, Enrichment – known as different things in different schools) that are more focussed on issues young people want or need to know more about including how to access benefits, the cost of going to higher or further education, how to budget etc
  • the creation and development of a ‘How To’ handbook (online or physical) that could be used as a guide for young people and practitioners on life and how to access support and information.


  • to conduct a review of bullying guidance with inputs from Police Scotland, young people, teaching and school staff. From this, a new approach to bullying will be developed looking both at the bullying ‘victim’ and the support available to them, as well as the bully themselves. The new approach aims to be restorative and reformative, addressing issues directly through group work programmes, 1-2-1 support and education in schools as opposed to expulsion or exclusion
  • increased anti-bullying education inputs for young children, and increased focus on online learning modules such as RespectMe to assist adults and young people know more about bullying and how to address this

The ‘10,000 Voices’ consultation was first carried out in Dumfries and Galloway in 2018 as part of the Scottish Governments themed Year of Young People. It was the largest collection of young people’s voices with participants aged between 10 – 25 years old from across all ward areas in the region. In 2023, the research was repeated with 10,828 young people participating (51.7% of the youth population) and sought to gain the perceptions of young people of the communities within which they live and an insight into the issues that affect them most. The findings offer a breakdown based on young people's circumstance, age, regional and Ward level analysis on young people’s perspectives, enabling resources to be targeted according to local needs, and utilised the Place Standard Tool to gather information about young people's perceptions of the communities they live in. To view the report, click here.

Speaking of the meeting, Cllr Malcolm Johnstone, Convenor of Dumfries and Galloway Council, stated:“We are delighted with the outcome of the joint meeting this year and look forward to seeing the progress made against the actions agreed. At the start of the meeting we were able to acknowledge a number of young people’s achievements in recent months and we are overwhelmed with young talent in our region. In Dumfries and Galloway, we are committed to listening to and talking with our young people, and acting on these views where possible.”

Finlay Anderson, member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Galloway and West Dumfries and outgoing chairperson for Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council added: “The Joint Meeting is a milestone meeting for the new Youth Council who were elected in December 2023. This year Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council will turn five, and how young people can become involved in decision making has changed hugely over this time. I look forward to seeing the progress made over the coming year”.

The audio recording of the meeting has been uploaded to Dumfries and Galloway Council's YouTube channel and a minute of the meeting can be found on the council's website.

For more information about the Youth Council, you can e-mail, or search on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @YouthCouncilDG