A GROUP of youngsters took London by storm ... as they showcased how they’ve improved their lives.
Barrhead teenagers Amanda McAllister, 18, and Jade Bourne, 16, along with Neilston lad Taylor Walton, 16, and Josh Clark, 17, from Eaglesham, visited the British Museum, in London, to talk about the positive role they play as young people in their community.
And it turned out to be the trip of a lifetime as they spoke about their experiences – before getting to see some of the capital’s most famous sights.
The teens were asked by the University of Hertfordshire to speak at the International Conference on Assets for Health and Wellbeing across the Life.
The group, known as The Big ShoutER, was formed by young volunteers aged between 16 and 17 from East Renfrewshire, who had the desire to influence positive change in health and the community.
Their presentation at the conference, The Bruce McBru Show – More Than Lip Service, was in the style of The Jeremy Kyle Show.
And it put across how young people can be an asset to their local community.
To help get their message across, Barrhead’s Sir Harry Burns, the chief medical officer for Scotland, joined The Big ShoutERs on stage and put himself in the shoes of a young person.
After the conference, East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy, arranged for the youngsters to spend time at 10 Downing Street, and go for a behind-the-scenes tour of Big Ben.
The group also packed in a visit to watch Shrek The Musical, took in the sights on the London Eye, and spent time at Madame Tussaud’s waxworks museum.
Big ShoutER Taylor Walton, from Neilston, says joining the group in January 2011 changed her life.
For a long time, she had struggled with her relationship with her 13-year-old younger brother, Logan, who is autistic.
Joining The Big ShoutER turned things around and helped Taylor deal with issues surrounding her brother’s condition and improved her relationship with him.
She said: “I didn’t use to spend much time with Logan as it would have just resulted in us arguing. Now I’m part of his life and I take him out so we can spend time together and share hobbies.
“Being part of the group has helped my life skills and, in turn, taken me a step nearer towards my ambition to have a career in psychology. I’m working harder at school and getting better grades.”
Taylor added: “The trip to London was quite an experience – it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s not every day you get to speak at an international conference.”
And she went on: “Once you’ve presented at a conference you feel you can take on the world! I wasn’t able to do anything like this last year and now my confidence has increased so much I can talk to anyone.”