Some of Scotland’s most vulnerable young people will be given the chance to build positive, supportive relationships with caring adults thanks to a new fund from Scottish Government and Inspiring Scotland.
The intandem programme will support 13 Scottish charities to mentor children aged 8-14 who live at home and are subject, through the Children’s Hearing system, to local authority supervision.
intandem was co-created by Scottish Government and Inspiring Scotland and launched by John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education earlier this year. The programme will offer young people a chance to build a relationship with a volunteer adult mentor who will support them as they deal with difficult experiences and challenges.
Existing mentoring projects have demonstrated that the relationship between mentor and young person is extremely valuable. intandem charities will carefully screen and match mentors with mentees based on individual circumstances to best suit the needs of the of the child or young person.
This is the first national programme specifically for children who are looked after at home in Scotland and Inspiring Scotland looks forward to working with the selected charities to improve outcomes for these children and young people.
Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald said:“The circumstances of children who are looked after by the local authority, but who live at home, are often complex and their access to support services is often limited and inconsistent.
"These portfolio of charities across Scotland will ensure the needs of children looked after at home are better provided for. We know that having a consistent and positive role model who listens and takes an active interest can prevent our vulnerable children from becoming disengaged. This support will help them move forwards towards realising their full potential."
Celia Tennant, Chief Executive of Inspiring Scotland, said: "The support of a caring adult role-model from outside the family can make an invaluable and lasting difference to children and young people who are experiencing extremely difficult circumstances.
“Inspiring Scotland has been focusing on the issues facing looked after children for some time and we are very pleased that, together with Scottish Government and the 13 charities, we are now able to establish a national mentoring programme to improve the lives of these children and young people."
Jackie Hothersall, chief executive of Befriend a Child, a mentoring charity based in Aberdeen, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be part of the intandem programme. Having the funding and backing of intandem means that we can now give much-needed support, through volunteer mentoring, to children and young people whose lives have been disrupted through their endurance and experience of abuse and neglect.
"The resultant complex and challenging behaviours these youngsters can develop has previously stretched our capacity because we haven’t been able to recruit and train volunteers to the level required for this area of work. We will now be able to deliver a new approach in Aberdeen ensuring no children or young person who needs our support will go without."
The difficult situations faced by children looked after at home can lead to lower school attendance and to poorer general and mental health, which can have lasting impact on their lives.
Existing mentoring projects have demonstrated that the relationship between mentor and young person is extremely valuable.
The initial phase of intandem will focus on children who are looked after by the local authority and who live at home supporting hundreds of young people between the ages of 8-14 over the next two and a half years.
After a rigorous three-month selection process, 13 charities have been invited to form the initial intandem portfolio. The intandem portfolio of charities ranges from large national organisations to smaller charities operating within a single local authority or town. They bring a range of experience of mentoring, delivering through volunteers and working with vulnerable children and young people.
Inspiring Scotland will begin to work with the charities immediately to recruit an intandem volunteer co-ordinator who will then recruit, select and train volunteer mentors.
The following charities have been selected to join intandem:
Aberlour - covering East Dumbartonshire and Inverclyde
Action for Children - covering Highland
Barnardo's - covering South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire
Befriend a Child - covering Aberdeen
Children First - covering Argyll and Bute
Community Volunteers Enabling You (COVEY) - covering South Lanarkshire
Kirkcaldy YMCA - covering Fife
Move On - covering Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian
Quarriers - covering Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire
Volunteer Centre - covering Glasgow
Y People - covering Glasgow and North Lanarkshire
YMCA Edinburgh - covering Edinburgh
Y Sort It - covering West Dumbartonshire