In March 22 we set up shop at the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness about what we do and to ensure the voices of those we represent are listened to and acted upon.

Over the course of three days we met with over 40 MSPs across the political spectrum sharing our work and making important connections for future calls to action and also handing out bespoke and unique succulents which represented the importance of growth and nurture and also tied in with the Seeds for Change initiative created by Project Return. We hope that these small but important plants will sit on the desks of the MSPs and staff to act as a reminder of the importance of keeping the promise for care leavers in Scotland. 

We also asked each MSP to write #OneRelationship which was important to them in their lives on a wooden heart. These hearts were then displayed at our evening reception acting as a powerful visual reminder of the importance of relationships to everyone. 

The reception was the first in person event since March 2020 and was a brilliant way to bring together so many of our partners, members and MSPs to discuss Relationships, Rights and Keeping the Promise. We heard from our sponsoring MSP Paul O'Kane who emphasised the importance of getting things right for care leavers and the Deputy First Minister John Swinney updated our guests on the progress made by The Promise Scotland team to date and his commitment to keeping the Promise and honouring all those whose powerful testimonies were heard as part of the Independent Care Review.

Nikki Thomas, Director of The Why Not? Trust spoke brilliantly about the importance of relationships and reflected on her involvement with The Real Toolkit, Staf's leaving care resource which was co-designed by young people with care experience and members of the workforce. 

We were thrilled to welcome Chris Marshall to the reception, who spoke of his experience as a member of our Care Leavers Forum and Youth Justice Voices and the great work both projects do to bring together those with lived experience of care and of the justice system to ensure their voices are heard and meaningful change occurs.

The event was summed up by our CEO Jo Derrick, whose passionate speech about the importance of amplifying the voices of those with lived experience to make their lives better and also thanking the workforce for all that they do. She spoke about the worries of finances for all, but particularly for those leaving care and she emphasised the importance of The Promise and ensuring all elements remain on the agenda.