Buncrana woman wins top Scottish Award

An Inishowen woman was presented with the prestigious Campaign of the Year Award in Glasgow on Thursday night last for the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Love Equally campaign.

Kate Bouchier-Hayes from Buncrana was presented with the award at the Scottish Charity Awards in Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket Concert Hall.

Kate is the Youth Parliament’s Events and Campaigns Co-ordinator and it was her job to give voice to the 42,000 young people who were consulted and made their views clear on equal marriage rights in Scotland.

The Love Equally campaign beat off stiff competition from 175 nominations over five categories. 25 campaigns were shortlisted to the finals and they were one of five overall winners.

Speaking to the Journal this week Kate was still a bit shocked at having actually won the award.

She explained that the campaign began in August last year and one of its highlights was the Love Equally March on Valentine’s Day in which thousands of people marched down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

She stressed that a key element of their campaign was equality.

“We are not a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) organisation and Love Equally is not a gay rights campaign, it’s an equality campaign. It’s about ensuring everyone has the same rights regardless of their sexuality,” Kate said.

The campaign was youth led from the outset. Equality for marriage rights is taken from the Scottish Youth Parliament youth manifesto which came about through a consultation with over 42,000 young people.

The youth parliament members designed, set core aims, key messages and campaign activities for the campaign and have led on all aspects ever since. They tell Kate what they want and she tries to make it happen. From the outset the campaign has been positive and respectful of others views.

“I’m honestly really shocked with the win, I know it sounds clichéd but we honestly didn’t expect to win. Winning the award for Campaign of the Year is a hugely proud achievement for me, both professionally and personally.

“It’s been a huge honour to work on what has been such a positive campaign, which has been driven forward by young people who believe in true equality regardless of sexual orientation.

“We have had many successes throughout the campaign, ensuring 1,000s of responses from young people to the Scottish Government’s consultation on same-sex marriage, which was one of, if not the largest, in the history of the Scottish Parliament. The award is a really brilliant acknowledgement of the innovative nature of the campaign,” Kate added.

They are now waiting on the Scottish Government to announce it’s intentions regarding equal marriage in Scotland.

“We very much hope they will legislate for a fairer, more tolerant and more equal society which Scotland’s young people demand and deserve - that would be the best award we could hope for,” she concluded.

In September 2010 the Buncrana woman won a major award at the Scottish Events Awards in Glasgow when her organisational talents saw her beat off competition from some of the best known event management companies to take the award for the Best Small Event.