I OFTEN talk about how the Scottish Government wants Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up and is working hard to provide opportunities for our young people.

This week I visited Craigend Youth Club in the North East of Glasgow to learn more about the activities they are offering for young people in the area.
The youth club was started by local parents who wanted to bring the community spirit back to Craigend by giving young people in the area somewhere productive to spend their time rather than on the streets.
The club is registered with Youth Scotland so that young people can work towards awards such as Dynamic Youth and Youth Achievement, providing them with recognition for helping out at the youth club and helping them to feel part of the community.
Politicians can often get stuck in a political bubble be that in Holyrood or Westminster  and so it was great to go out to Craigend with my colleague Councillor Gerry Boyle to visit the youth club.
I spent time with a group of high school students who were taking part in a tackling sectarianism workshop, and it was great to see how well informed they were.
There were a number of statements that the group had to say whether they agreed or disagreed with, such as ‘All Rangers fans are Protestants’  or  ‘All Celtic fans are Catholics’ or  ‘Does it matter if you’re in a relationship with someone from a different faith?’
It was heartening to see that there was no sign of sectarianism or bigotry in the group, and also that they would take the outcomes of the workshop away into other parts of their life.
What was so positive about Craigend Youth Club is that children and young people from the area have a safe space to ask questions and to delve deeper into issues knowing that they won’t be made to feel uncomfortable.
Community-run clubs like Craigend Youth Club are so vital as they make a real difference to the lives of young people by giving them more choices of activities and more chances to be involved in their local community.

THIS week also saw the publication of the latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland figures, which show that Scotland’s fiscal position over the past five years has been stronger than the UK’s position by £1600 per person.
Expenditure on social protection – such as pensions and benefits –as a share of GDP has been lower in Scotland than in the UK in each of the past five years, showing that these social protections are more affordable for Scotland.
Over the last five years Scotland generated 9.5% of UK revenues yet received 9.3% of UK spending – less than what we put in. So a simple request to those in the No-Camp – quit the scaremongering over Scotland’s ability to be a wealthy nation and bring forward the positive case for a No-vote because so far their silence has been deafening.