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Joan McAlpine MSP has worn a special ribbon in the Scottish Parliament to support the launch of the new Care Leaver Tartan. The launch is part of National Care Leavers Week, a week-long celebration of what young people in care can achieve.
The Tartan was co-created by young people with care experience and Black Cherry Studio, a Scottish print design company.


The design has been registered with The Scottish Register of Tartans and will be made available to anyone who is or has been in care. The Tartan has a modern twist words “Love” “Listen” and “Care” woven through it. These were identified by people with care experience as the three most important elements of being part of a family.


There are just over 16000 young people in care in Scotland today. Young people can often feel judged negatively because of their care label and say that the general public sometimes perceives them as being “bad kids”. In reality, most young people become looked after because of neglect or because they are victims of an offence.

In 2014, a group of young care leavers was named Young Scots of the Year for their campaigning work to change public perceptions about care and extend the support offered to care leavers. It is hoped that the Care Leaver Tartan will encourage more people with experience of care to claim their identity positively.  

Ms McAlpine, who is also co-convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Carers, said:

“Tartan is about having a sense of identity and belonging. Across Scotland, we wear tartan to mark special events, to recognise where we have come from and to give us a sense of belonging. Unfortunately, young people who have been in care might not have the family ties that tartan usually represents.

“That’s why I’m thrilled to support the launch of this new Tartan.  I want young people in care to know that they are Scotland’s children and that in my work as a MSP, and as co-convenor of the Carers CPG, I will continue to support them.”


Ashley Cameron, young care leaver said:

“We created this tartan so that young people know that we are all part of one care family. Growing up in care, I never really felt like I belonged anywhere, or to anyone. I didn’t think tartan was for me because it is so linked to a family name.

“This has been an incredible year for people with care experience to own their identity and be proud of who they are. People with care experience have shown that with the right support, and a sense of belonging, that they can make change happen. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that than by launching our own tartan and I am so happy that Joan McAlpine MSP has joined us to do that.” 


Notes to Editors
Black Cherry Studio is run by Glasgow School of Art graduates Maxine Dixon and Jemma Wood. For more information visit
Children’s Social Work Statistics, 2012-2013.
Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, 2014.

Young Scot of the Year Video –