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Across Scotland's coastal communities, lighthouse keepers once kept their beacons shining through the night. By making sure that these would never go out, they made sure people always had a way to naviagate difficult waters.

Last weekend, the Tending the Light Festival took these lighthouse keepers as an inspiration.

Hosted in Inverness and getting underway on Care Day, it asked how communities from across the north of Scotland might work with the care-experienced young people in their care.

In this way they can make the services these people use and need better, when they’re charting difficult times.

Tending the light, keeping the promise

Beginning on Care Day – Friday 17 February – the Tending the Light Festival brought together:

  • leaders
  • practitioners, and
  • care-experienced young people

from across the north of Scotland.

On the Friday, it focused on co-design alongside corporate parents and leaders.

And on Saturday, it looked at young people’s connection, collaboration and leadership.

Promise Scotland CEO Fraser McKinley took part in several of the Friday’s events.

With its focus on working with care experienced young people to redesign public services for the better, the ethos of the Festival is firmly aligned with the promise.

Fraser’s input involved making sure those links are explicit, so that the Festival itself could be a beacon of practice not just for communities in the north, but across the whole of Scotland.

A broad partnership supported the event, including:

While some of the care-experienced groups at the event included:

  • the #SHETLANDCREW of Care Experienced leaders from Shetland, and
  • members of Highland’s Care Experienced CHAMPS group, who hosted a celebratory Prom on the Saturday night.

Fraser McKinley, CEO of The Promise Scotland, said:

"#CareDay23 is an important opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the care experienced community in Scotland. It’s been great to be part of Tending the Light in the North, a powerful demonstration of how challenging issues can be discussed in creative and artistic ways.
"It has provided an invaluable opportunity to be part of a dialogue between care experienced young people and representatives of organisations that have a responsibility to support them, and ensure they are able to grow up loved, safe and respected."

Lauren Young, a member of the #SHETLANDCREW of Care Experienced young leaders, said:

"Tending the Light invites all care experienced young people to come together to make change. Instead of waiting for change, be the change!
"It’s incredible to see corporate parents come out of their comfort zones and let down the barriers. Those relationships become 50:50 with Care Experienced people.
"In Shetland, we’ve been able to work together, put our job titles to one side, and let our relationships grow. It makes progress easier. We’ve created love and respect."

Promise Design School

The Promise Design School exists to help public services across Scotland get the tools they need to keep the promise.

Co-design and collaborative working are just some of the skills they aim to teach, as they work to help the "care system" put children and families at its centre.

Learn more about The Promise Design School.