Media Release: Young Placemakers initiative launched by Planning Aid for Scotland


PLANNING Aid for Scotland – the independent and impartial organisation, working across Scotland to enable citizens to shape their communities and engage more effectively with planning – has launched a new initiative called Young Placemakers.

The campaign aims to recruit a network of 12 motivated young community leaders who will champion active citizenship and create a stronger voice for young people.

The Young Placemakers initiative recognises that young people should be more engaged with the decisions which will shape a Scotland that is greener, smarter and stronger. Increasing involvement in the planning system will give young people a central role in the creation of Scotland’s future places.

The campaign was launched at the Scottish Parliament by Petra Biberbach, Planning Aid for Scotland’s chief executive, Derek Mackay MSP, Planning Minister, Kyle Thornton MSYP, vice-chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament and Scott Strachan, a school pupil from Rosshall Academy in Glasgow. (See notes to editors for photograph details).

Commenting, Petra Biberbach said: “Young people are the missing piece in the planning jigsaw. They are currently disengaged with the process of planning and development, which plays a vital role in shaping the villages, towns, cities and country in which they will live, work and raise their family.

“The Young Placemakers campaign will help young people become more aware of how they can support the challenge to build a sustainable Scotland. Using the planning system, they can support economic growth, meet the inter-generational challenge, and play a key role as active citizens.

“We are looking for young people from a diverse range of backgrounds to apply to be Young Placemakers. They will receive support and training from a mentor and inspire their peers to become involved in the planning process.

“Planning might seem complicated and irrelevant to many people, especially young people, but it is critical to shaping the places where we live, work and play. Young people will live with the consequences of today’s decisions for the longest time and so it’s only right that they play an active part in shaping those decisions.

“It’s thinking about both the immediate and the longer term opportunities that young people want to see happen in their local communities, whether that be the provision of skate parks, sports facilities, or the creation of employment opportunities. Whatever the issue, it’s important that young people are encouraged to become involved in shaping their local places.”

Launching the campaign with Petra Biberbach, Planning Minister, Derek Mackay MSP, said: “Planning impacts on every part of the country and affects all of our communities, which is why it is vital that people of all ages get involved in the planning process.

“The Young Placemakers campaign will allow young people to become actively involved in the planning system, giving them the opportunity to have their say on planning decisions.

“Scotland is enriched by a high quality environment and many special places to live in and visit. These valued assets underpin our economy and our quality of life and that is why we need to ensure new development goes in the right places, providing positive benefits for our communities and environment.

“We all have a role to play in creating a sustainable Scotland and our young people are key to continuing this legacy.”

Kyle Thornton, 18, the MSYP for Glasgow Southside, said: “As a Community Councillor and elected MSYP, I know how important planning can be in shaping the places where we live. Young people are far too often ignored in the planning process and I’m really hopeful the young placemakers will be able to bridge the gap between planners and young people.

“I’d encourage every young person to check out the details, apply to be a placemaker and make a real difference in their local communities.”

Scott Strachan, 18, who is a student at Rosshall Academy, said: “Having already completed Planning Aid for Scotland’s Youth Engagement in Planning programme, I have recognised that actually, most young people are interested in the planning system and what goes on in their communities. However, I feel it is because most young people don’t know how to get involved or who to speak to that they do not participate.

“This is why I feel the Young Placemakers Initiative is a remarkable opportunity for the young people of Scotland. Through this, the younger generation are being given an opportunity to get thoroughly involved in the planning system and have a say on matters that could ultimately affect the society in which they grow up in.”

The Young Placemakers campaign is also being supported by CoSLA, the national voice for Scotland’s local authorities, which is primarily responsible for planning in Scotland.

Cllr Stephen Hagan, spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability, said: “Planning has a key role in ensuring that the places we live in meet the diverse needs and aspirations of our communities.

“COSLA welcomes this initiative aimed at young people’s greater engagement and understanding of the planning system.”


Notes to editors:

1. Zero-cost access to professional photographs from the launch is available here. Our photographer, Malcolm McCurrach, has also placed them on the wires. Please credit Malcolm McCurrach, New Wave Images.

2. Planning Aid for Scotland is an independent and impartial organisation, working across Scotland to enable citizens to shape their communities and engage more effectively with planning.

3. Potential Young Placemakers, aged 16-20, will be invited to apply for a three year post through a dedicated website (launching today – Thursday – at They will be supported by a mentor and trained to inspire their peers towards increasing involvement in shaping places and participation in the planning process. The Young Placemakers network will bring together young people from every corner of Scotland, as well as from minority, Gypsy/Travellers and refugee communities, and from young people with disabilities.

4. Planning Aid for Scotland’s twitter handle, @planningaidscot, will use the hashtag #youngplacemakers

For more information please contact: 
Message Matters
10 York Place
Peter Duncan (07740 469 949,
Andy Maciver (07855 261 244,

For general information on Planning Aid for Scotland please contact:
David McAllister
Manager – Business & Communications
Planning Aid for Scotland
0131 220 9733

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Contact: Peter Duncan
Phone: 07740469949