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Youngsters set to take over Lerwick venues

MSP Maree Todd with Shetland youngsters in Lerwick on Tuesday. Photo: SIC

SCOTTISH Government minister Maree Todd was in Lerwick on Tuesday to launch a three-day event due to take place in Shetland in 2018 to mark the national Year of Young People.

The BIG Takeover will see youngsters create a varied programme of music, art, drama, craft, sport and film across seven venues in Lerwick between 14-16 September.

Mareel, The Garrison Theatre, Islesburgh Community Centre, Shetland Library, Shetland Museum and Archives, Clickimin Leisure Complex and Gilbertson Park will all be involved and the events will cater for young people between the ages of 8 and 26, with some due to be open to the public.

The event, which will see children receive assistance from venue staff, has received funding of £38,000 from EventScotland for its estimated costs of £80,000.

Todd – who was recently appointed as the Scottish Government’s minster for childcare and early years – was on hand to meet some of Shetland’s young folk on Tuesday.

The Highlands and Islands list MSP also had time to visit the recently opened new Anderson High School during a quick visit to the isles.

“The BIG Takeover in Shetland is gearing up to be a very exciting event next year,” Todd said.

“As one of the signature events for Year of Young People 2018, it will be a fantastic addition to the programme – involving young people from Scotland’s most northerly region.

“I’ve also been hearing today about plans to bring The BIG Takeover to other island local authority areas – building on the success of this fantastic concept.

“The Year of Young People aims to inspire Scotland through its young people, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contribution to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.”

Todd was joined in Lerwick by Shetland Islands Council families and education committee chairman George Smith, who said the isles has some “very capable and talented young people”.

“I have no doubt that they will work positively with staff to come up with an exciting and creative programme of local events,” the councillor added.

“I’m sure too that our young folk will gain new skills and confidence, and that local bodies will benefit from some fresh and youthful input.”

Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Shetland Sonny Thomason added that a steering group for the takeover would implement ideas put forward by local youngsters.

“Young Shetlanders will be at the heart of the local plans and this is an amazing opportunity for the public and voluntary sector to work together to support young people,” he said.

The BIG Takeover is one of a number of signature events that will be held across Scotland this year to celebrate the country’s young people.

Anyone interested in getting involved in planning the local takeover is invited to attend a meeting at Mareel in Lerwick on Wednesday 22 November at 7pm.