Local Area Groups – Q&A

If you’re reading this page, you should have received an e-mail about the foundation of SYG area groups. This has a bit of information on what were likely to be the most obvious questions people would need answered.

Questions you may have;

What is the point of local area groups? As the SGP and SYG both recognise, local people are always the best positioned to take decisions about their local area – in this case, on campaigning issues and social activity with other young greens. Obviously, current members of SYG council can’t possibly keep up with local issues across the country. By creating local groups, young greens across the country can be part of a more effective movement.

What is the difference between a local area group and a university/college society? Local area groups are an official part of the SYG structure and are open to all young people in a given geographic area. University and college societies are by necessity limited to people at a given institution, where there is no guarantee of enough people to form a group. In addition, not all who qualify as young greens are currently in education.

Why should we set up an official SYG area group? Official groups are entitled to a spot on SYG Council, the main operational and decision making body of the SYG. They will also be eligible for a share of SYG materials, such as badges and leaflets. SYG shall support official groups by promoting meetings and action days through national SYG social media and e-mails.

What’s the process for setting one up? First you’ll need to elect area organisers. Anyone interested in taking on that role for their area can put their name forward, and we’ll then ballot local members. Once we have the results of those ballots, we’ll let you know and constitute you as an official area group. Ideally, this process will take four weeks – two weeks time to allow people to put themselves forward for the area organiser role, and two weeks for balloting. That means, in theory, groups should properly come into being on the 1st of December. Obviously, that may change!

What will the area organisers do? Area organisers will manage activity in their local group. They will have access to an e-mail account, Twitter and (possibly) a Facebook page, as well as mail authorship rights for sending e-mails out to their local group. As part of our belief in gender balance as well as to spread workload, there should be two area organisers, at least one of whom is to be non-male. Inclusivity is important, so we’d hope to see as many female and LGBTQ+ members putting themselves forward for these roles as possible.

The kind of activity we’d expect to see from local groups include simple social events (hey, you have to get to know each other, right?), campaigns on issues deemed important by the local group, and taking part in Scottish Green Party election campaigning, but with a Youth perspective.

How can I put my name forward to be an area organiser? Simply send an email to info@scottishyounggreens.org with some basic information. There doesn’t have to be much to it – just a brief bit about yourself and two or three issues you would prioritise if you were selected. We’ll then send that information out to people to help them decide who to vote for. Don’t worry about being snowed under with work, it’s something you can definitely do in your spare time! And don’t worry if you are a new member – much like the SGP, new members outnumber the old by far, and we’d be delighted for new members to take a leading role!

If you have any other questions, either about local groups or about the SYG in general, feel free to get in touch with me (convenor@scottishyounggreens.org).

List of Proposed Area Groups:

Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire
Borders, East & Midlothian
Dumfries & Galloway
Dundee & Angus
Falkirk & West Lothian
Highlands & Islands
Renfrewshire & Inverclyde
Stirling, Clacks & Perthshire

Constitutional Stuff;

This is a bit bureaucratic, but it’s worth outlining the exact constitutional requirements for Area Groups here. This isn’t required reading, just useful to know we’re going about this in the correct fashion!

According to our constitution, a local area group is “a group of two or more SYG members in a particular geographical area who following a request in writing, SYG Council agrees can constitute themselves as an SYG Area Group. The request must include a named Area Organiser prepared to act as a contact person between SYG Council and the Area Group and to take a seat on SYG Council”

It’s clear that this was written when SYG was much, much smaller than it is at present. With nearly two thousand members now, it wouldn’t be managable simply to allow any group of two people to set themselves up as a group and take a spot on council. So, SYG council have come up with a little bit of, shall we say, “jiggery pokery” that keeps us within constitutional bounds without letting things get out of hand. This hinges on the fact that SYG Council has to agree to the formation of an area group. We have two requirements that will have to be met for us to agree to founding a local area group.

The first is that, unless there are very good reasons otherwise, we will only accept requests to form a group from those area groups we have ourselves created – you’ll know which of these you are in based on the e-mail you received. That’s not to say the groups we’ve come up with now will be the only groups ever allowed or that there’s no room for change – that’s a decision that will be made by those on SYG Council in the future, having evaluated how well the current groups are working.

The second is that nomination of an area organiser has to be done democratically. As outlined above, that will mean people putting themselves forward to fill the area organiser role and the membership of that area being balloted. This introduces a degree of democracy to the process – it’s obviously not fair for the first two people who come along to take charge.


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