Following an independent review of the positive impact of the Strategic Youth Work Partnership across Perth and Kinross by Catch the Light, The Gannochy Trust and Perth and Kinross Council have extended funding for the initiative by a further two years, up to 2024. Through work delivered by local youth work agencies, the partnership provides support, facilities and events to help young people aged 11 to 19 to develop and thrive.
A further £600,000 of funding will be given to seven youth work agencies across five areas, the same levels received between April 2019 and March 2022. These include the Logos Youth Project in Strathearn and Strathallan, KYTHE Youth Project in Kinross-shire, the Strathmore Centre for Youth Development, the Alyth Youth Partnership and Coupar Angus Youth Action Group in Eastern Perthshire, The Breathe Project in Highland and Strathtay, and Tayside YMCA in Perth City.
The Strategic Youth Work Partnership is a partnership between The Gannochy Trust and Perth and Kinross Council set up in 2019, to provide £900,000 of funding over a three-year period to support youth work across the region. Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the initiative has been an overwhelming success. The funding has provided financial security to youth centre charities across the region against a backdrop of funding cuts in Scotland. It has helped youth work providers to recruit and retain staff, diversify their service offering, as well as make it easier for youth groups to provide activities and drop-in centres during evenings, weekends and holidays – a safe haven for young people to meet and socialise.
According to Catch the Light’s report on the second year of delivery, £305,000 has been invested so far in youth work, with over 1,000 individual young people reached, including up to 15% of the secondary school population in Perth and Kinross so far, 5.4% up from year one. Over 15,000 engagements have taken place, with 1,500 hours of youth volunteering and over 2,000 hours of adult volunteering time spent.
As the programme has grown, 22 new funders have come on board with an additional £0.26 million funding sourced by partners. Work has also spread geographically, with a total of eight new locations receiving support in year two.
Feedback gathered from youth work agencies was equally positive. The funding has provided much needed security and sustainability for core programme support; reduced the time on applications and reporting due to the collective approach to funding applications; provided a structured platform for sharing knowledge, expertise and resources through a networking and monitoring programme; and helped increase youth agencies profile by being part of an authority wide collective. The full year two Catch the Light report can be viewed here.
Councillor Caroline Shiers, Lifelong Learning Convener, Perth & Kinross Council said: ““In coming together with the Gannochy Trust to establish the Strategic Youth Work Partnership we have looked to reach out to young people locally and enable the delivery of services and support where it is most needed in communities. The report by Catch The Light reflects the really positive effects of the partnership to date; particularly with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic which was a time of significant uncertainty and worry for everyone, and especially for young people. Having spoken with some of those involved in the delivery of youth work over the past 18 months I know of the hard work and commitment put in by all the organisations involved and thank them for all they have done. The continuation of the Partnership and the Gannochy Trust’s support are therefore absolutely fantastic news.”
David Gray, Chair, The Gannochy Trust said: “In conjunction with our partners at Perth and Kinross Council, we are delighted to be extending our Strategic Youth Work Partnership funding for a further two years. The collaborative approach of the partnership has produced many positive outcomes for young people across the region, and the youth agencies’ delivery has exceeded our most optimistic expectations.
Our collective work has helped buck the national trend of diminishing youth work, which is particularly noteworthy in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Council and the Trust look forward to working with our partner agencies to continue to develop the delivery of youth work services in Perth and Kinross.”
Tim Frew the Chief Executive of YouthLink Scotland said: “Collaboration between partners has never been more important as we seek to secure the best outcomes for children and young people. Perth and Kinross’s Strategic Youth Partnership supported by Perth and Kinross Council and the Gannochy Trust is a great example of this and I have no doubt that continued funding will lead to even better outcomes in the years ahead.”
Franny McGrath, YMCA Tayside said: “We feel very grateful to be part of such an incredible initiative. We thank Perth and Kinross Council and The Gannochy Trust for their continued faith in us and for challenging us to partner in the truest sense and push us beyond our own understanding and expectations.”
Barry Dougall, Senior Youth Worker KYTHE said: “A big thanks to everyone who has been part of this process, I know that KYTHE and my practice and experience has grown immensely due to the partnership. It’s certainly exciting times with regard to strategic youth work and this extended funding really sets us up to continue to develop the work across Kinross-shire.”