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Young leaders are breaking down barriers thanks to £650,000 cash boost

Projects helping young Scots overcome barriers to employment and education during the pandemic can today (Wednesday 12 August) celebrate over half a million pounds in funding.

Intercultural Youth Scotland and Forth Valley Disability Sport are amongst nine youth-led groups that will help young Scots build confidence, develop new skills and realise their full potential, thanks to £659,935 from The National Lottery Community Fund’s Young Start Fund (See a full list of awards made in your area here).

Thanks to £98,710 in funding the future of Intercultural Youth Scotland’s ‘Restless Natives’ programme is assured for the next three years. This work supports young Scots from minority ethnic backgrounds to overcome the challenges they face in accessing employment, education and volunteering.

Restless Natives will help more young people like Nisha Singh17, from Edinburgh, who has found the programme was a vital source of support during lockdown.

On leaving college this year Nisha had hoped to take on an apprenticeship as she left formal education. The COVID-19 crisis threw those plans into jeopardy leaving Nisha worried and stressed for her future. Nisha said:

“The help I’ve got from Restless Natives has made a huge difference to me. They stepped in and offered support with applications, online interviews, updating my CV and from my mental health perspective it really helped.

“The youth practitioners are young and have experiences of struggling to get support through their education and employment too - so they really listen to young people’s needs. I felt supported and I knew where to go when I had any questions.

“It’s thanks to the help I’ve had from Restless Natives I have been accepted on to a graduate apprenticeship in my chosen field, software engineering, which starts this month.

“I am so thankful that this service exists. It is so different from schools and is more accessible and comfortable to young BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Colour) Scots like me.”

Forth Valley Disability Sport (FVDS) also picks up £51,000 in funding today to expand its ‘Step Out’ project supporting young people living with a physical, sensory or learning disability across the Forth Valley area. The project uses sport and physical activity to help disabled young people make friends, develop life skills, and gain qualifications.

Welcoming the award is FVDS youth volunteer, Caitlyn Ross, 23, from Denny who started taking part in disability sport when she was just 10 years old.

“Over the years disability sport has truly changed my life for the better. I feel like I have found where I belong, and I am a part of something where I don’t feel judged and can just be me so I’d like to say thank you to Young Start.

“Coming to Forth Valley Disability Sport has helped develop my confidence and self-esteem and I have made so many friends. It also led to me volunteering both here and with several other local organisations. I have also gained qualifications and expanded my knowledge in so many different sports.

“I’ve also had great opportunities to share my story around sports volunteering and I have my voice heard in the Forth Valley Disability Sports Youth Committee, the Scottish Disability Sports (SDS) Youth Panel and the SDS Young Start Programme.”

Graham HarveyFVDS Branch Coordinator, said:

“This grant from Young Start will allow us to continue to develop a wide range of opportunities within the Forth Valley area. FVDS greatly appreciates the support of the National Lottery Community Fund’s Young Start Fund to help the charity to change lives through sport and physical activity.”

Young Start awards dormant bank and building society cash to youth-led projects across Scotland and is delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Announcing today’s funding totalling £659,935, The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland Director, Neil Ritch, said:

“Young Start funding helps to supporting young people to build confidence, develop new skills and realise their own potential. Each project awarded today has made an incredible impact in the lives of the young people they support.

They are great examples of how the youth sector has stepped up during the current crisis offering support in new ways. At a time when young people are concerned about their futures I’m delighted Young Start is working with projects like Intercultural Youth Scotland these projects offering renewed support into employment and education.”

Groups wanting to know more about Young Start, and how it can support them during these unprecedented times should visit or contact 0141 846 0447.

Click here for the full press release


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