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Children’s Parliament in Benbecula

A few months after their spring meeting in Barra it’s time for one last summer meeting of the Uist and Barra Children’s Parliament. They’re holding their last session of the year at Nunton Steadings in Benbecula. It’s a good place to meet, with an outdoor performance space, as well as a café and lots of exhibition space indoors.

The big bird, which the MCPs started working on in Barra, is now complete. This is their first chance to see it. “Fichead Eun”, twenty birds, have merged together to form one. Now that it’s put together it’s a striking piece.

Early on in the session there is a full meeting of MCPs with helpers and ambassadors. They have to plan their activities over the next couple of days, and agree how to present the results of their work to family members, friends, and members of the public.

Also, some delegates who went to Fife for a meeting with other Scottish Children’s Parliaments to discuss the environment report back to the full group. They describe the things they saw and learnt, and relate what impressed them most.

Lunch consists of soup and sandwiches in the main hall, where sculptures they produced at an earlier stage in the history of the parliament have already been set up for display.

Later on in the session family members, friends, and the general public are invited to come in and view the work the MCPs have produced over the years. They’re also invited to make their own contributions.

This is followed by a presentation ceremony in which Alasdair Allan, the MSP for the Western Isles, hands out the John Muir Awards to the MCPs.

Finally, the MCPs lead everyone outside to see their performance of a short play which they’ve created in the space of only two days. It focuses on the themes of co-operation and self-confidence. It can be seen how the children themselves have developed these core values of working with others and self-belief during their time as members of the Children’s Parliament.

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