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Stephanie Reilly


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Mid Scotland and Fife

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I am a Stirling University graduate and I’m now working as a Chef in Falkirk. I graduated from university with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Digital Media and a Master of Research in Media Research.

During my time at university, my aim was to become the next political editor and hopefully begin to change the shape of the way the media portrayed Scotland. While I spent a lot of my time at university debating independence with fellow students, I tried not to lose track of my goal – provide honest and accurate information at every opportunity. This went hand in hand with my political interest. I had the ability to speak with people from various walks of life, give them information and provide them with the opportunity to conduct their own research going forward with reliable sources.

I left university and pursued a career in kitchens. Whilst this is a very different direction from my original plans, the heat of the kitchen is the closest thing I have found to the rush of politics. In my last few high school years, the independence referendum was the topic on everyone’s lips. I grew up in a very politically motivated family – an interest in politics was inevitable.

Having grown up on the streets of Govan in Glasgow, life wasn’t always plain sailing. Living in a poverty-stricken area, you quickly learn what it means to have nothing or close to nothing. That doesn’t mean life isn’t happy. You adapt and become grateful for what you do have. You begin to appreciate the little things in life. But most importantly you go through life, you make friends, and bonds with people sharing the same boat as you. I spent a lot of my younger life living in the South of England. Living in a small beachy town, I learned just how different life could be. This opened my eyes to the need for Scottish independence. Having the ability to decide our own future and own funds in the country, whilst ensuring that Scotland is an open, welcoming country for all. Only when I returned to Scotland at the age of 13 did I begin to discover the reality of how bad things can be living in a poorer area of Scotland. The differences in my lifestyle gave me the inspiration to look for better things in life. But not only for myself.

I moved from Govan after high school and began living in Alloa. Similar to my experiences in Glasgow, I knew Alloa could become so much more. With the continued rise in food banks, and more shockingly, baby food banks, I realised the only way for change is to start pushing for it. Bringing change to the people of Scotland is my biggest reason for becoming politically active. I can’t justify witnessing firsthand how tough life is and not trying to help to change it, for myself, for my friends and family, for future generations to come.

While I split my time between political campaigns and studying at university or working, I keep time for what I love the most. Each year, I travel across Scotland to various battle-sites and learn more about the history of my country and my ancestors. After all, if you don’t know where you came from, how do you know who you really are? My passion for Scottish history helped to fuel the passion I have for Scottish politics. My passion for helping others less fortunate and in worse circumstances than myself is my greatest push in driving me to look for change.

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