Folk are generally supportive about the work we do with young people. Folk we know: teachers; social workers; housing officers; nurses; mums; dads and others who have a live connection to the Project. It’s great to get positive feedback. It’s great to be able to celebrate the success of young people with them and their families. We’re proud as punch when they feel positive about and empowered by successfully navigated routes to achieving life milestones. Leaving school to got to college. Leaving homeless accommodation to set up their first tenancy. Completing a training course or getting their first job! Once in a while, we are invited to celebrate other events: the birth of a child; a college graduation or the tearing up of L driver plates. We are used to celebrating in our somewhat self-contained world. We love it!
It always comes as a great surprise when we are invited to celebrate with people who live their lives outside our ‘bubble’. We can be so intent on what we do every day, we sometimes forget to lift our heads high enough to realise we are more connected than we think. What a buzz we got when Katrina, the daughter of Allen and Christine Simpson, contacted us to let us know that her parents were keen that guests at their upcoming joint 60th birthday party make a donation to Bridges Project in lieu of birthday presents. Allen knew about our work through his many years of voluntary service as a Children’s Hearings Panel member and is well tuned in to the needs of vulnerable children and young people. That relative strangers should so kindly think of us when they are celebrating their own important milestones is genuinely humbling. Christine and Allen’s birthday party went with a swing. Their guests and family were incredibly generous to Bridges Project and the evening raised an amazing £530 for Bridges. We are grateful to Christine, Allen, Katrina and their guests for thinking about us and being so kind. We are grateful to be reminded that acts of kindness – in sentiment and deed – are everyday occurrences and that we should be lifting our heads above the parapets a little more often to share and celebrate them.
Ruth works with our Transitions Team in all six East Lothian secondary schools. She introduced her North Berwick employability group to Screen Education Edinburgh to explore issues around cyberbullying. Screen Education Edinburgh used CashBack for Creativity funding to work with the group after school over a number of weeks to produce a short film on cyberbullying. The group were involved in storyboarding, scripting, acting and all matters of filming. Their powerful story is told in the short film here: https://vimeo.com/206611143
The pupils should be proud of their work and for raising such an important issue. The film is an excellent example of meaningful collaborative working among schools, third sector agencies and funding partners which puts young people in control of their learning and development. It addresses an issue which affects so many young people in Scotland in and out of school. We are proud to be associated with the group and with the organisations involved. Every participant contributed. They are genuine community assets and are credits to their families, school and themselves.
Way2Work#CashBack will be challenging for young people who will be expected to take control of their own pathways to employment and create portfolios which address skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work. The mix of individual support, accredited learning and placement opportunities will be guided by staff. Ultimately, however, it will be up to each individual participant to make the choices they want to: improve personal capacity and confidence; positively change behaviours and grow aspirations; improve personal wellbeing; become more connected and improve attainment and engage with purpose in learning, employability and employment opportunities on their pathways to positive destinations. Our many years of experience has shown us that being involved, taking control and becoming empowered can be extremely challenging for young people who are more used to feeling disconnected, passive and supplicant. We’re not in the business of trying to squeeze square pegs in to round holes. We’re confident that this investment in a bespoke approach by the Scottish Government will make a genuine difference to the lives of local young people who strive to be successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.
We are delighted to receive an award of £45,000 over three years from The Robertson Trust to support the work of our specialist Tutor Service. The grant enables the service to deliver regular, tailored one-to-one, needs led literacy and mathematics tuition and educational and study support for 40 young people each year. We will also run a demand led educational support programme including: college preparation groups; work placement preparation groups; maths support group and animal care study support groups. A programme of skills for life groups is planned including: money management; money handling; independent living skills and a range of cultural and learning opportunities such as theatre performances, science festival visits etc.
The beneficiary group is young people aged 14 to 21 years, all of whom have diverse and complex needs as a consequence of circumstances and/or personal difficulties. We hope, specifically, to be able to work with young people who are involved in the youth justice system; have a history of being looked after by the local authority; have missed schooling due to refusal and exclusion, illness, family trauma, bereavement, homelessness, caring responsibilities for family members or were bullied at school. Our tutors will work with young people who have personal barriers to overcome, such as: mental health problems; addiction issues; social isolation and mild learning difficulties including higher functioning autism. Historically, the young people accessing the Tutor service have not achieved their potential whilst at school and have missed out on the benefits of the educational process. They leave formal education with poor basic skills and feel disconnected from mainstream further education and training pathways. The Tutors will deliver an educational experience which will help to improve aspirations by building on strengths and addressing weaknesses and ultimately create individual pathways towards attainment in further education, employment or training. Staff and trustees are grateful for the generous investment in the futures of young people by The Robertson Trust and look froward to a fruitful partnership over the next three years.
For more information about the service and how to make a referral, please contact Emma Scarcliffe, our Practice Manager on 0131 665 1621.
Some things do not change much. Whilst the Project has grown and services have been developed to meet growing need, many of the old personal barriers and structural obstacles remain for young people trying to make their way in the world. Optimism, motivation, determination, resilience and a desire to succeed were the key strengths staff used back then to help young people build positive pathways to good futures.
These attributes are alive and well today and the whole team at Bridges Project was delighted to showcase just some the incredible work undertaken by young people at our 30th birthday Open Day. 125 visitors were treated to live music and video productions, home cooking, art work and personal pathway presentations. Staff, young people and trustees were delighted by the show of good will to Bridges Project from parents, colleagues in the private, public and voluntary sector and by elected representatives.
Young people were heavily involved in developing our new strap line which was launched on the day. It feels very apt; whilst it is good to reflect on the past and learn from it, we need our young people to reach out to what lies ahead and we hope, very much to be inspiring young people to build a confident future for many years to come.
It’s always nice to feel appreciated for what we do. Our friends and regular donors, the members of Inner Wheel Club of Musselburgh, have been at it again – making us feel appreciated with a fantastic donation of £200 to support our work. The generosity of members over the last few years has been immense; we are delighted to be supported by this local organisation which is part of a much bigger whole. Find out more about their work here: http://innerwheeldistrict2.org.uk/index.php/clubs/musselburgh
We are also one of the charity beneficiaries of the Microsoft Scotland annual fundraising Burns Supper. Three members of staff enjoyed the food and hospitality at this year’s event on 28 January in the fabulous setting of the National Museum of Scotland. Our share of the funds raised is a whopping £18,022! We are grateful for being involved for the third year in a row with the Microsoft Scotland event and for the generosity of Microsoft Scotland and its partners.