Minister talks poverty with Cumbernauld students

Written by Maureen Rankin.

Published at 10:31 on 8 March 2015

New College Lanarkshire

Picture: supplied.

JAMIE Hepburn MSP visited New College Lanarkshire to meet with members of the Students’ Association.

The Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health visited the Cumbernauld Campus to talk about the issue of student poverty.

Students quizzed him on what was being done by the Scottish Government to address hardship.

The Students' Association is backing the NUS Scotland campaign Stop Student Poverty.

They plan to lobby politicians ahead of May's general election, and the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016, to make enhanced support for students a key budget concern.

Mr Hepburn was also asked his advice on student election campaigning, having been actively involved in student politics whilst attending Glasgow University, and he learned more about the food bank that has been set up at the College.

The Scottish Parliament member for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth said: "It is always good to come to the College and interact with the students here.

"I would congratulate NUS Scotland in terms of bringing the issue of student poverty to the fore.

"They're an excellent campaigning organisation and they've made their mark in terms of government thinking in the past. I know the government will be listening to what they're saying just now.

"The Students' Association plays a vital role. Any college or university without its students wouldn't be much of an academic institution, so it's important that their voice is heard, particularly because there are more than 25,000 students here."

Ashley Hickford, Vice President of New College Lanarkshire's Students' Association, said: "It was an exciting opportunity – he answered all our questions, so we were glad to have him visit our Cumbernauld Campus.

"It was really interesting to hear his opinions and views, not just from a local perspective but also from a Scottish Parliament perspective as well."