"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", said Petra Biberbach, Planning Aid for Scotland's Chief Executive when launching a new initiative called Young Placemakers. Together with 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 Biberbach officially started the new campaign this week.

"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", explained Biberbach.

"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.”

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."

Kyle Thornton, 18, the MSYP for Glasgow Southside, encouraged young people to check out the details, apply to be a placemaker and make a real difference in their local communities. "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."

Scott Strachan, an 18 year old student at Rosshall Academy has already completed Planning Aid for Scotland's Youth Engagement in Planning programme. In his eyes most young people are interested in the planning system and what goes on in their communities but they don't know how to get involved or who to speak to to 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."

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. Also, Planning Aid for Scotland will organize the Innovation Circle Youth Camp in Scotland. You will find more info about the camp that will take place in August on this webpage within the next days.

Potential Young Placemakers, aged 16 to 20, will be invited to apply for a three year post through www.youngplacemakers.com. 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.

Follow Planning Aid for Scotland on twitter @planningaidscot #youngplacemakers

Pictures: Planning Minister, Derek Mackay MSP, along with Petra Biberbach (Chief Executive of Planning Aid Scotland) launches the Young Placemakers campaign. Copyrigth: Malcolm McCurrach, New Wave Images