IT’S time for the voices of Scotland’s people to come to the fore and Voices for Scotland is the umbrella coalition which will help give them that voice.

Last year in The National we, the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC), of which Elaine C Smith is the convenor, announced that we would set up a new civic, people-powered, non-party political campaign organisation that would be built and designed to speak to those in Scotland who are persuadable towards independence and have doubts about where the UK is leading us.

Our aim is to open up a dialogue with those people who are not yet sure about Scottish independence, reach beyond the headlines of hysteria and the same few media commentators of the Twittersphere. Voices for Scotland will listen to how they think and feel. In turn, we will show them how independence can meet their hopes and aspirations in life, free from a system that no longer seems to meet their hopes or quell their fears for the future.

The people we will reach out to will want to look beyond the noise of party politics and the orchestrated shouting matches in the media. The people we aim to reach will be the people who will listen to their peers and it’s our job to get these conversations going – real conversations that can reach further on a personal level than a hostile media would otherwise allow us.

The look and feel of Voices for Scotland and the campaign work going forward has been informed by conversations with undecided Scots from across the country, and this research work will continue to make sure we reach people we otherwise might not reach. This peer-to-peer people’s movement in all our diversity will be the way we reach all of them.

Our new co-ordinator Chris Hegarty has been taken on to lead our team, which will be recruited over coming months, to put the beginnings of this process together to get the first campaigns in place and link with the many local grassroots groups across Scotland.

Funding by thousands of people with small and large donations, the support from all of Scotland’s pro-independence parties, national-level organisations and regional Yes groups has made this civic campaign organisation possible.

This is it. We will now listen to the people of Scotland who are unsure about independence, engage with them respectfully and constructively and find out what they need to help make their decision in favour of independence. Voices for Scotland is a fresh wind blowing which will move our nation closer to independence as we encourage undecided folk in Scotland to feel more confident about Scotland’s future as an independent country.

Dave Thompson is chair of the Voices for Scotland board, a member of Highlands and Islands for Independence and a former MSP