Alison Johnstone, Lothian MSP and health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, has last week visited the 6VT Youth Cafe to learn about the importance of community support for Edinburgh’s young people.
Alison joined in the ‘Terrace Tots’ coffee session, where young parents and their children can get together, socialise and seek advice and support. Some of the young people present had been coming to 6VT since their early teens.
The 6VT Youth Cafe is a city institution, having provided services, support and a safe community space for young people for over 20 years (note 1).
During her visit, Alison spoke to young people about their experiences and the support they’d received from the 6VT Youth Cafe over the years.
Alison highlighted the importance of investing in community support and care, such as that provided by 6VT, to secure the health and wellbeing of young people who are facing difficult circumstances.
“It’s wonderful to see such a committed community organisation at work in the heart of Edinburgh. So many of our young people, from care leavers to teen mums and everything in between, are faced with situations where they have no support and no place to go. It’s crucial that organisations like 6VT are able to be there for these young people.
“Sadly, smaller, community-based organisations are losing work to big commercial companies, who have little knowledge or ties with the communities they’re meant to serve and support. We must make sure that smaller service providers who know their communities inside and out get the support and recognition they deserve.
“Far too often, young people who are in a difficult point in their life are faced with mental health problems, poverty or homelessness. There is a way to stop these people from slipping through the net, but to ensure that, we must invest properly in our communities and not get caught up in the drive to privatise and cut costs.”