To create a small grants fund which will support a wide range of projects, preferably led by care experienced young people, with a particular focus on growing and strengthening their voice.
The Empowerment Grants scheme will allow the Trust to invest in small projects (with a preference for young people-led projects) which support care experienced young people to express themselves and exercise their rights; develop their confidence and skills; improve their opportunities to have their say on things which matter to them; increase their opportunities to take part in community life.
This approach will also allow us to test out the role of small grants in contributing to the empowerment of care experienced young people and provide opportunities for organisations and services working with care experienced young people to strengthen their empowerment approach.
The grant scheme will provide a mechanism to target particular groups of care experienced young people who can be harder to reach, e.g. young people affected by disabilities; young people within the youth justice system; young people who are looked after at home.
The Empowerment Grants scheme has allowed the Trust to invest in small projects which support care experienced young people to express themselves and exercise their rights, develop their confidence and skills, improve opportunities for them to have their say on things which matter to them and increase their opportunities to take part in community life.
This approach also allows us to test out the role of small grants in contributing to the empowerment of care experienced young people and providing opportunities for organisations and services working with care experienced young people to strengthen their empowerment approach.
The grant scheme will provide a mechanism to target particular groups of care experienced young people who can be harder to reach, for example young people affected by disabilities, young people within the youth justice system and young people who are looked after at home.
In early 2017, the Trust pledged almost £400,000 to empowerment grants. The first round of funding resulted in the following projects, with a total spend of £109,854:
- Aberlour Child Care Trust (National project): This project aims to support Aberlour’s care experienced young people to participate in, and contribute to, the Care Review, through participation and engagement activities which are planned, led and delivered by a group of their care experienced young people. There will be a particular focus on unaccompanied asylum seeking young people, young people with disabilities, looked after at home young people and young people experiencing mental health issues.
- Articulate Cultural Trust (East Renfrewshire): Trust funding will allow the Articulate Cultural Trust to deliver up to four creative learning projects for care experienced young people in the East Renfrewshire area, targeting up to forty young people.
- Barnardo’s Highlands (Highlands): Barnardo’s want to support around 16 care experienced young people (ages 18 – 24) to maintain and expand a music group. This music project will support a group of care experienced young people to share their love of music, learn and share musical skills, express themselves through music and build confidence and self-esteem.
- Cyrenians (Edinburgh and West Lothian): Trust funding will enable Cyrenians to deliver a Therapeutic Communities initiative for residents in supported accommodation in Edinburgh and West Lothian, enabling participants to access a suite of therapeutic opportunities, including a three day Eco Therapy residential in the Scottish Borders. Cyrenians have particular expertise in working with young people who are facing “tough realities” due to difficult transitions out of care, homelessness, drug and alcohol issues and mental health problems.
- Dean and Cauvin Trust (Edinburgh) The Dean & Cauvin Trust aims to deliver a Mums Group for care experienced women under 21 and living in Edinburgh. The activities will focus on improving physical and mental health, promoting positive behaviour in children and improving links with the community. The programme is designed by the young women themselves.
- Falkirk Council (Falkirk): Funding will support Tremanna Children’s Home to deliver a project which will enable five care experienced young people to undertake a climb of Ben Nevis and for their experience to be filmed. Young people identified climbing Ben Nevis as a goal which would give them a powerful sense of achievement, enabling them to continue to think aspirationally about their futures.
- Move On (Edinburgh and Glasgow): Move On aims to deliver a project (in conjunction with ‘Fixers’ Charity), which will enable care experienced young people to participate in a film making project, using a youth work approach. The young people will be supported to tell their stories and their views on what would impact positively on their lives in their own way.
- Options in Life (St. Andrews): This project aims to expand Options in Life’s ‘Recreation Programme’ from two to three days per week, enabling a further 45 care experienced young people with learning disabilities to engage with their programme. Activities include confidence building, communication skills, team work and the development of social and employability skills.
- Outfit Moray (Moray): Trust funding will allow Outfit Moray to deliver a project which will provide outdoor activity sessions for up to 24 care-experienced young people aged 14-25. The keys aims of the project are to build confidence and self-esteem, improve health and well-being, improve communication, reduce social isolation and increase opportunities for care-experienced young people.
- Scottish Churches Housing Action (Renfrewshire): This project will provide an opportunity for up to 10 young people with experience of care, together with others at risk through homelessness or other vulnerability, to form a mutually-supportive group, geared towards preparing young people for living independently for the first time.
- Stirling Council (Stirling): This project aims to support the development of a care experienced group and create an online space where looked after children and care leavers from the Stirling Council area can find accessible information about their rights, gain support from a care experienced peer mentor, and feed in their views of the services they receive.
- Trust in Fife (The Oasis Project) (Fife): The aim of this project is to purchase a workshop, benches, tools, paint and equipment to enable homeless young people who are temporary residents to reupholster and up-cycle second hand furniture in preparation for when they get their own home.
- Voice of My Own (VOMO) (Borders): Voice of My Own aims to deliver a project which will provide an opportunity for 8 to 10 young people with experience of care, together with a larger group of 10 to 15 young people, to learn dramatic storytelling and film making skills.
- Xchange Scotland (Glasgow and surrounding area): Trust funding will enable Xchange Scotland to deliver a project to support up to 10 care experienced young people to become more active citizens by providing a training programme leading to a short term international volunteering placement (short term EVS), funded by Erasmus.
- Y Sort It (West Dunbartonshire): Y Sort It will build a short stay cabin at a large community of huts located in Carbeth, Stirlingshire. The cabin will provide outdoor education and respite opportunities for care experienced young people and other young people supported by Y Sort It.
During the summer of 2018, the Trust made a further fifteen Empowerment Grant awards, totalling £100,000. These included:
- Barnardo’s: Barnardo’s was awarded £5000 to develop workshops focussing on empowering young people to have the skills, knowledge and ability to work through transitions. These workshops will encompass building self-esteem and confidence and will also address the practicalities of independent living, such as budgeting and cooking. This project will capitalise on existing links with the South Ayrshire Champions Board, to run from 2018 – 2019 in 4-6 week blocks in South Ayrshire.
- Darcy’s Equine Assisted Living: This not-for-profit was awarded £5580 to develop therapeutic workshops based on interacting with horses. Working closely to build a relationship with a horse helps young people realise how much their verbal and non-verbal communication impacts and influences those around them. A horse will move away from an angry person, follow someone it trusts and be unsettled when it senses fear. Over the course of the workshops, young people will focus on relationship skills and values, such as the building of trust, empathy, compromise, negotiation and boundary setting. This will help them build their own confidence, social skills and life chances. Workshops began in August 2018, to run for 10 weeks in Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire and Glasgow.
- Front Lounge: This project is a mental health roadshow developed and delivered with young people. It aims to raise awareness and understanding, challenge stigma and discrimination and effect change at local and national level. Front Lounge has been awarded £9450 to run for a period of 6 months, beginning in September 2018 in 10 locations across Scotland.
- Good Shepherd Centre: The Good Shepherd Centre is a Secure, Close Support & Semi-Independent Living Service for vulnerable young people 12 to 17 years of age. This £9910 funding award will be used to transform a piece of derelict land on the Good Shepherd Centre site in Bishopton, into a wildflower meadow and bike track, to enrich the lives of the young people living there.
- KibbleWorks: Kibble works are a community skills project for care experienced young people attending school or employment placement at Kibble. They have been awarded £4684 to deliver a 25 week programme of once weekly evening classes in Paisley, offering trade-based skills such as gardening, mechanics and joinery, life skills advice on healthy living and opportunities to socialise informally.
- OPEN Peer Education: This project was awarded £6638 to establish Shetland’s first peer mentoring programme for young people. By training mentors and matching them with young people in need of support, the programme will increase the confidence, abilities and life skills of mentors and mentees. The project was funded to run from October 2018 for a year’s pilot in Shetland.
- Options in Life: Options in Life was awarded £6500 to help prepare care experienced young people with learning disabilities to cook healthy balanced meals for themselves once living independently. The project is based in Fife.
- Renfrewshire Effort to Empower Minorities: A grant of £10,000 was awarded to this initiative in Renfrewshire to develop a peer education project aiming to empower young people from similar backgrounds. The aim is to deliver a 12 week health and wellbeing project for care experienced immigrants. Emphasis will be on stress relief techniques and exploring the positive impact that physical activity has on mental health.
- Universal Connections: This East Kilbride project supports care experienced young people in the creation, management and implementation of a community based scooter competition. They will use the £4632 grant to deliver weekly workshops focussing on employability skills, organisational skills, risk management and self development. These skills will then be used to stage a community scooter competition.
- Up-2-Us: Up-2-Us will deliver a ten week programme for young parents with care experience offering them parenting support and the opportunity to build a social network. Different aspects of wellbeing will be explored with the intention of increasing the parents’ knowledge, skills and understanding that will promote and safeguard their babies’ wellbeing. Each workshop will be followed by a parent and baby activity linked to the aspect of wellbeing activity discussed. This will include trips to the beach, baby yoga or cooking. They have been awarded £9718.
- Lochaber Hope: A funding award of £2000 was made to Lochaber Hope to enable them to make it easier for care experienced young people to access Lochaber Hope’s services. These include counselling, mentoring, employability and training.
Outcomes we'd like to see
Care experienced young people have opportunities to be active citizens. Example project outcomes:
- care experienced young people have more opportunities to get involved in activities that matter to them, including sport, music, drama, art and media
- care experienced young people have more opportunities to tell their stories
- care experienced young people can develop their talents
Care experienced young people have opportunities to influence policy and practice affecting their lives. Example project outcomes:
- care experienced young people are confident about giving their views
- care experienced young people understand their rights
Organisations can demonstrate meaningful participation of young people. Example project outcomes:
- organisations have knowledge and understanding of care experienced young people
- organisations and communities engage care experienced young people
- projects are led by care experienced young people