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Young people Archives - Inspiring Scotland


Crowdfunder launched to raise £10,000 for children with care experience to create lifelong memories this summer 

intandem, Scotland’s national mentoring service for children and young people with care experience, has today (Wednesday 31st May) launched a Crowdfunder campaign, aiming to raise £10,000 to help children create lifelong memories this summer.  

All children deserve the opportunity to have fun and try new things to help set them up for a positive future. For children with care experience, the summer holidays may not offer the same opportunity to create these happy memories and they can miss out. Especially as the rising cost of living means many families in Scotland are struggling to stay afloat.  

The intandem programme is managed and facilitated by Inspiring Scotland and will match every donation made during the campaign . All money raised will allow mentors and mentees to do something a bit more special during the summer holidays like visiting a zoo or theme park during their weekly meetups. 

Julia Abel, Director of Funds at Inspiring Scotland said:

“We all have those memories of during the summer holidays – a trip to the beach, enjoying an ice cream or going someplace new. Those all-important things to talk about on the first day back at school.  

“Many children with care experience, especially this year with the rising cost of living, are missing out. We want to go the extra mile and raise money for mentors and mentees to be able to do something a bit more special.  

“intandem mentors provide children and young people with a consistent adult role model in their lives who is that one step removed from the day-to-day, who will empower them to be more confident and to feel heard.” 

intandem mentoring is a proven model, where mentees have reported increased self-confidence, self-esteem, social relationships and has even seen many children and young people more positively engaged with their local community. Mentors help their mentees set goals and encourage resilience and confidence to succeed in life. 

Donations can be made at  

Empowering women and girls through Active Play

To mark this year’s Scottish Women and Girls Sports week we want to highlight the positive impact of women and girls’ participation in sports and physical activity through the Active Play Programme. Using a partnership approach it is enabling children, and adults, to participate in, and in turn lead on Active Play across Glasgow and the rural Highlands.  

It is clear that taking part in outdoor play, regular sports, or physical activity is good for individuals and communities.

However, despite this, nearly 60% of girls don’t meet the recommended exercise guidelines. Research from Women in Sport shows that at the age of nine, many girls have already been put off sport and over 40% of girls have dropped out of all sports activity by the time they reach their teenage years. We must change this.   

 We believe that Active Play can be part of the solution to this national problem.  

 Active Play combines grassroots delivery of inclusive active play, with training and support, so that children have access to more fun and inclusive active play and adults can understand the principles of Active Play and be confident in implementing it. The more adults who are able to continue to facilitate active play, the more active play for children.  

 Since 2016 Inspiring Scotland has have worked in partnership with Glasgow City Council to deliver Active Play to 5,000 children in 147 primary schools and this year will bring the programme to the Highlands in 3 primary schools, benefitting around 360 children.

Active Play is typically delivered over a 15-week period for 1 hour per week with 30 mins of structured active play led by a trained charity leader and 30 mins of outdoor free play activity. The sessions can take place in a school, nursery, or community setting. And the approach is underpinned by three drivers: Fun, Active and Inclusive. 

Bringing the fun back into physical activity can be a huge incentive for engaging women and girls in sport. The team of partners collaborating on the programme also understand the importance of involving the children, and those who care for them in a way that promotes confidence, leadership, and ownership – boosting motivation and physical competence.  

 The Active Play programme is backed by evidence from a PHD doctorate, internal and external evaluations. We know it is building children’s resilience, confidence, and self-esteem. Data has also shown children have improved relationships, physical ability, negotiating skills, energy levels/stamina, confidence, and happiness all being improved. 

Teaching staff are also recognising the benefits with many continuing to deliver Active Play after the programme has ended. Feedback has also suggested that physical activity/literacy levels have been further enhanced by 74% children taking up/planning to take up new sports clubs or activities after school. In addition to 80% participating in more active play at breaks and lunchtime, or at home.  

The Value of Partnerships  

The Active Play programme would not be possible without the expertise, knowledge, and resource from a range of partners.

 Actify lead on the CPD training of all adults involved in the programme and provide a centralised place for learning and sharing of best practice. Check out the Active Play hub here: 

Having professional play experts leading Active Play on a weekly basis is crucial to the success of the programme. These positive and trusted role models bring their expertise, cooperative working practices and shared learning and is enhanced by the  ongoing CPD delivered by Actify.  Additionally, the play charities provide a bridge between communities/families and schools; providing wraparound support to the most vulnerable children across Glasgow.  

Inspiring Scotland’s role has been central to the ongoing strategic development of Active Play. From inception to now, working closely with Glasgow City Council Education Department, PEPASS, teachers, schools, and other stakeholders across the country and the grassroots charities to ensure a joined up and complementary approach.  

 If we value the health and well-being of girls, and all children and want to create a future of young people and adults who enjoy being physically active then we must continue to work together to remove barriers. We can provide more and better active play, physical activity and sporting opportunities which are fun, active, and inclusive and become a fundamental part of growing up in Scotland.  

For more information on the Active Play programme please feel free to drop me a line  Melodie Crumlin, Thrive Outdoors Fund Manager  or follow on Twitter @Melodie_Crumlin 

intandem expand their team and help map mentoring to Keep the Promise

As part of their ongoing commitment to amplify the voices of children and young people, intandem are taking action to Keep the Promise of the Independent Care Review.

After a successful application to The Promise Partnership, intandem secured investment to recruit a Programme Development Intern to support the national mentoring programme, and are delighted to announce that Josh Hurd has joined the team in this new role.

Josh will play a crucial role within the fund over the next year, helping to embed the voice of young people within intandem’s mentoring programme.

Upon joining the fund, Josh said:

“I enjoy working as a team and learning new things. I am a very enthusiastic person who loves spending time with people. I enjoy down time with family and friends and like being in people’s company.

I’m excited to meet everyone in the team and can’t wait to started. Family and friends are the most Important to me, as we build each other’s confidence up and help each other to overcome the bad times.”

Debbie Zima, performance advisor for intandem, added:

“We are delighted to have Josh join intandem. He brings experience of working alongside young people in sports coaching and most importantly has an infectious drive to get the views and ideas of young people at the front of all our minds, which will ensure intandem develops with their voice at its heart.”

In addition to welcoming Josh to the team, intandem have been working with the Scottish Mentoring Network and YMCA Scotland to map mentoring provision for care experienced children and young people in Scotland. The goal is to identify gaps in mentoring provision by mapping an accurate picture of where and how care experienced children and young people can currently access mentoring services.

Scottish Mentoring Network have launched a nationwide survey to enable mentoring services to contribute to the mapping exercise. Responses will help SMN and partners to better understand the current mentoring landscape and will allow them to make informed recommendations about how to improve access to mentoring services for all care-experienced children and young people.

Sarah Barr, Scottish Mentoring Network’s project lead for the mapping project, said:

“We are really excited to have been awarded funding to enable us undertake this vital piece of work. We know the positive impact that the mentoring services we work with have on the lives of Scotland’s young people and by contributing to this project you will be helping to ensure these opportunities are equally available across the country”.

Susie White, intandem performance advisor, added:

“Mapping mentoring provision will provide a clear picture of the current support available across Scotland. By working together to understand what mentoring services are available and where, we can build better connections across the sector to complement each other’s work and, most importantly, ensure young people get the support they want and need at the right time.”

Funded by Scottish Government and designed and delivered by Inspiring Scotland, intandem provides mentors for young people to help them face the unique challenges their circumstances can create. To find out more about the programme, visit


Mentoring can build confidence and offer hope for a bright future

As part of the Volunteers’ Week 2021 celebrations, we interviewed intandem mentor Angela Jamieson to find out about her mentoring journey and the impact being a mentor has had on her life so far.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m currently a performance advisor supporting 29 charities who provide services to Survivors of Childhood Abuse. Having previously worked in the private sector, I was keen to change direction and through Inspiring Scotland got to know about mentoring opportunities with Ypeople. As a child I remember a turning point for me in Primary 6 when the teacher took time to encourage and support me, and helped me build my confidence to believe in myself more.

What made you want to become a mentor initially?

Listening to the experience of adults who as children had little or no support or guidance from anyone, then learning about the difference a mentor can make to a child inspired me to find out more. I met with the support team at Ypeople to learn about the support they provide and took the training alongside other potential mentors before I was matched with a mentee.

Do you feel your work experience, or learning you’ve developed throughout your career, has helped you as a mentor?

I was a mentor in previous roles and also had a mentor myself for career and personal development. There were some learnings particularly around listening, supporting, building trust and generating options that helped when I became a mentor. Often it’s just being there consistently for the person and gently encouraging them that matters most.

Is it difficult to balance work and mentoring?

It was clear upfront the commitment required, so I knew what to expect. Challenges sometimes arise so anticipating and being a little flexible is always a good thing.

What skills have you gained or built upon through mentoring?

Probably being adaptive and flexible are the key skills, as the needs of the mentee can sometimes change with little notice. Being a good listener and well organised helps too, as well as being able to generate options and ideas for activities, and being open to trying out new things. I’m lucky that my mentee shares similar interests: chatting and having a laugh, being out in the countryside seeing wildlife, eating out, cooking – she now makes a mean spag bol!

What is the most challenging thing about being a mentor and how have you overcome this?

Meeting the mentee and their family for the first time and starting to build a relationship based on trust can be a little daunting at first. The support provided, at the outset and ongoing, is superb, and it helps being able to share good ideas on activities and crafts with fellow mentors. Managing my own expectations was initially a challenge – these need to be led by the mentee and at their pace.

What is most rewarding about being a mentor?

The simple things like seeing my mentee having a good time, smiling, chatting, stretching themselves a little out of their comfort zone and starting to think about what they’d like to do in future. Just getting to know them, sharing experiences and to see them happy and believing in themselves is enough.

How has mentoring impacted your life, and how do you think its impacted the life of the young person you mentor?

Mentoring has given me a different perspective on life, it has opened my eyes to some of the challenges young people can face and made me more determined to support where I can. It has stopped me sweating the small stuff! For my mentee having someone independent, who listens, is interested in them, is not judgmental and is someone they can trust, I think gives them confidence and hope for a bright future. I would encourage people to explore mentoring and remember that support is there for you every step of the way.

Playing outside helps children to have a stake in their communities

By Jill Fraser, Community Play Performance Advisor

Community is an old and deeply human idea. It is about sharing; people sharing experiences, sharing places and sharing hopes. We gain a sense of community early in our lives. For children, playing is intrinsically linked to a burgeoning sense of belonging to a bigger group of people and a place. Through play, children share experiences and emotions and build a community with friends. They explore the spaces in which they play and understand how to share them.

When children play and share joy in their physical neighbourhood spaces, they get their first experience of community in the wider sense too. Playing outdoors in a shared community space, whether a small patch of grass, a street, or a play park, allows children to connect with their local areas. It’s also a chance to interact with a broader group of people than in school or at home, meaning opportunities for intergenerational activity and enhancing community cohesion.

Children develop a sense of place and feeling of belonging, ownership and inclusion with the place they are growing up. Because local kids are out playing and having fun in their local spaces and can be seen doing so, the wider community benefits from a positive sense of itself as a safe and happy place. Playing outside really is that powerful a tool.

But too many children in Scotland lack the chance to play regularly outside in their communities and opportunities are reduced further for children in deprived areas.

Our Play Rangers model of community play is designed to change that. Play Rangers are professional playworkers who run open access play sessions within a community using open spaces in neighbourhoods close to where children live. They encourage children to attend the free sessions and support parents and carers who may not be able to take their children out or are not comfortable with their children playing out.

It also combats antisocial behaviour, helps build relationships within neighbourhoods and improves children’s self-esteem, social skills and health. It helps bring about lasting improvements to the quality of children’s play, the use of local open spaces and the way communities come together.

We need communities to come together in this way. Children’s play spaces should be an important part of community life as children who play are healthier and more resilient than those who don’t. We need to work together to make spaces safe and accessible for children’s play, to make sure they’re well cared for and free from litter, vandalism, dog mess, crime and antisocial behaviour.

Through our work with the charities who lead Play Rangers activity, we have seen these improvements in action. As children become more visible in their communities and residents become aware that local spaces are used by children for playing, these spaces tend to become better looked after with less dog fouling or antisocial behaviour.

Being increasingly visible also helps children feel more a part of their community. By supporting and empowering children to reclaim their streets and outdoor spaces, their voices become heard and they feel listened to and valued. And including them in decision making helps break down generational barriers and give them a feeling of control over changes and a greater sense of ownership of their place. Some children who attend Play Rangers sessions now undertake ‘poo patrols’ to highlight areas of dog mess and educate residents about dog fouling.

Giving children a voice and an increased feeling of control over their local area helps them to feel more involved in their community and provides a sense of identity and shared purpose. It is this sense of identity and shared purpose that will enable us to build stronger, more engaged communities for the future.

Find out more about Play Rangers

Young people are more than their mental health difficulties

Stacks _image _2Charis Robertson of Hot Chocolate Trust, an Inspiring Scotland 14:19 Fund portfolio charity is celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week by asking the Hot Chocolate Trust young people what their hopes for the future of mental health support across Scotland.

I am no expert on how mental health issues affect young people.
However, having worked with hundreds of young people over the years who struggle with their mental health, I have certainly learnt a lot from them about their experiences and recovery and I know mental health affects every young person differently.

That’s why I have co-written this article with them.

My co-authors are some of the young people I work with at Hot Chocolate Trust, a grassroots youth work organisation in Dundee, and they are the experts of their own experiences. If we are serious about creating a society which supports young people to flourish and thrive – physically, socially, emotionally, mentally – we’d be wise to listen to what they say.

Over 60% of the young people involved with Hot Chocolate experience mental health difficulties, so I invited them to share something around how mental health has affected them and our community.

“Mental health affects my life almost 24/7, everywhere I go. School and home are the big ones for me where I trigger every day. I can range from anger to emotional breakdowns to the fight/flight/freeze response. It’s extremely hard to live with, and it’s very hard for me to find people who understand.”

– Annie, 16

“I suffer with depression, ADHD, anxiety and paranoia. I struggle day-to-day with these disorders – it’s sometimes like I’m at war with myself. It seems like the hardest thing in the world is to put on a smile when all I want to do is hide under my duvet and stay there for a week.”

– Carrie, 17

“I was homeless when I was 17 and I had to fend for myself for 2 years. It’s really hard to deal with that as a teenager – you don’t feel there’s a lot you can do about it. I had pretty bad depression and anxiety and I thought about suicide quite a lot of times. You really need someone to sit down and speak to, and thankfully I found that at Hot Chocolate.”

-Paul, 22

“The vibe at Hot Chocolate is informal and free. I never feel forced to open up, and that makes me want to open up. It really helps that I can talk about my problems.”

– Steve, 16

“I knew I needed someone to speak to, so I spoke to the team at Hot Chocolate. They encouraged me to speak to my doctor. They helped me express my feelings. They didn’t judge. They helped me make positive plans for my future. They gave me opportunities. They listened. They were there.”

– Dan, 18

The young people of Hot Chocolate (like everybody else) are on a journey with their mental health and wellbeing: understanding themselves better; learning more about their own needs; cultivating healthy and positive practices; finding ways to express their emotions; establishing trusting relationships; growing in confidence to reach out and ask for help when they need it; processing past experiences; and developing courage, resilience and strategies to tackle they challenges they face.

Without these steps in the journey, it is very difficult for young people to be able to embrace the opportunities that may lay ahead of them– including those of employment, education and training.

So, in light of their experiences, I also asked my co-authors what their hopes are for the future of mental health support for young people across Scotland:

  • That young people are seen as whole people. They are more than their mental health difficulties, and also come with hopes, ambitions, skills and talents.
  • That mental health professionals would take time to get to know them, build up trust with them, really listen to them, and learn what makes them tick.
  • That mental health professionals don’t try to control or dictate what should happen, but work in partnership with them.
  • That there would be more creative opportunities to help them express themselves, and to help themprocess their emotions and experiences.

These seem like wise and achievable hopes to me.

Charis Robertson (Assistant Director, Development) & young people of Hot Chocolate Trust.

Hot Chocolate Trust is a grassroots youth work organisation based in centre of Dundee. It is part of Inspiring Scotland’s 14:19 portfolio, supporting young people into employment, education and training.