We are delighted to announce that we have received £60,000 from Paul Hamlyn Foundation which will be used to expand our Youth Participation Programme over the next two years.
Our Youth Participation Programme, one of our newest services, has been hugely popular consulting with over 600 Armed Forces children and young people across Scotland supporting them to share their experiences about military life and empowering them to enact positive changes in, and for their own communities. The Programme now has 7 local advisory groups across Scotland and a National Youth Participation Forum which takes representatives from our local groups and works to deliver a national action plan on a number of issues important to our young people.
Armed Forces children can face a range of issues which they tell us can be barriers to them reaching their full potential in their education and in life. By Secondary School they are on average their fifth or sixth school often across different countries and curriculums. Children in the Highlands and Moray tell us that they struggle with making friends, coping with new school systems and examinations and dealing with parental deployments all of which have a significant impact on their confidence, wellbeing and ability to progress in school.
The funding will be used to support the recruitment of a local Youth Participation Project Worker in the Highlands & Moray. This will allow us to consult with more Armed Forces young people from both serving and veteran backgrounds across the North of Scotland giving them the opportunity to share their experiences. The Worker will also be able to provide a more hands-on level of support to our two established Youth Participation groups in Inverness and Lossiemouth supporting them to deliver their action plans and create the changes that they want to see which will improve the experiences of Armed Forces children in their local areas.
Since the groups have been established we have seen significant improvements in the confidence and happiness of some of the young people that we support. A Community Development Worker in the area has said “One of the children engaged in the Programme had been isolated from her peers and unaware of the activities available to her by her local welfare service. Following the residential she has already had a sleepover with a friend she has made on the residential and has attended holiday activities. It’s been amazing for her.”
Colin Flinn, Chief Executive from the Royal Caledonian Education Trust says “We are hugely grateful to Paul Hamlyn Foundation for supporting the expansion of our highly successful Youth Participation Programme. We believe wholeheartedly that listening to the views of Armed Forces children, and empowering them to improve the experiences of future generations of their own community is the best way to deliver real long-term change that will help all Armed Forces children to reach their full potential. We are most grateful to Paul Hamlyn Foundation for joining us on this journey.”
Ruth Pryce, Head of Programme – Young People, Paul Hamlyn Foundation said: “Funding for the Royal Caledonian Education Trust’s Youth Participation Programme will expand the reach of this important work, ensuring children and young people are supported and that their voices and experiences shape the changes needed for them to reach their potential. We look forward to working with RCET and learning with them as the initiative grows.”
We are now hiring for the Youth Participation Project Worker (Highlands & Moray) – you can find out more information about the role, and how to apply here.