Meet the Finalists: Inclusion & Prevention

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East Renfrewshire Council CLD Team

This team is putting the smart in street smart, helping young people to realise their potential. 

East Renfrewshire’s Community Learning and Development (CLD) team work with young people aged 11-to-25 across the authority, in schools and in the community. They provide both universal and targeted youth work with a key focus on prevention, diversion and early intervention. The team tackle issues from crime to risk taking behaviour head on.  

The team’s approach is multifaceted, encompassing detached youth work, community-based groups, and targeted interventions tailored to individual needs. By forging strong bonds with young people, they provide a safe space for exploration and growth. 

Crucially, the CLD team collaborates closely with community safety partners, sharing data to target resources effectively and proactively address anti-social behaviour. Their bespoke programmes, informed by local and national data, are now integrated into the PSHE curriculum, equipping all young people with essential knowledge and decision-making skills. 

Through dynamic partnerships with Police Scotland, Scottish Fire & Rescue, and other community organisations, the CLD team expands young people’s horizons. From Snow Camp programs to gaming groups, they provide avenues for self-discovery and skill-building, fostering a sense of belonging and purpose. 

The impact of the CLD team reaches beyond the young people they work with. By diverting young people from crime and anti-social behaviour, they are creating safer, more resilient communities. From tackling alcohol and drug misuse to addressing school transitions and relationships, their holistic approach addresses the complex realities facing their young people. 

One young person had this to say about the team:  

“The youth workers have helped me to get involved in things in my community. I met them on the street. I have now been to youth clubs, go-karting and even a snow camp. The youth workers are friendly and fun, we can talk to them about anything and they listen. Life would be boring without them.”  

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Friday Night Football - Girvan Youth Trust

Friday nights in Girvan used to spell trouble for many young people. All that changed, however, when youth work opened its doors.  

Friday Night Football is a partnership between Girvan Youth Trust, Girvan Football Club, Active Girvan, and Community Safety, and it isn’t just about scoring goals; it’s about scoring big wins for the community and young people. 

Using football as a catalyst, the project tackles critical issues like violence, positive masculinity, and sectarianism head-on. More than just kicking a ball, it builds positive relationships and promotes active lifestyles among its participants. 

What sets Friday Night Football apart is its focus on partnership and community spirit. By joining forces with Girvan Football Club, the Youth Trust has spearheaded a football boot exchange programme, ensuring that every young person has the gear they need to thrive on the field. 

Led by a passionate team of youth work staff dedicated to both football and youth development, the town has seen a remarkable 22% decrease in youth disorder on Friday evenings, proving that the preventative approach has been a tactical masterclass.  

But the impact doesn’t stop there. Through friendly matches with Ayrshire Deaf Society, Friday Night Football is breaking down barriers and making the game more inclusive. These matches, followed by shared meals at the youth club, offer a glimpse into a world of understanding and acceptance. 

For the young people involved, Friday Night Football isn’t just a game changer – it’s a life changer. Providing a safe and engaging activity on Friday nights, it’s become a trusted space where stereotypes are challenged, and difficult conversations are had. 

“It’s something we can do rather than hanging about the streets,” says one young person. “The youth workers support us, and we can trust them – even when they try to score goals past us! It gives me something to do on a Friday night.” 

As the final whistle blows and the players head home, one thing is clear: the real victory is the power of youth work and for the young people, whose lives have been changed by the beautiful game.  

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Strong Girls Programme - Glasgow Girls Club

The Strong Girls project in Glasgow has gone from strength to strength since starting in 2022, helping young girls and women take charge of their own lives and destiny.  

This transformative initiative is engaging vulnerable young women through provision of a safe space where they can participate in workshops based around skills, personal development, creative expression and entrepreneurship.  

The project empowers participants facing adversity, fosters resilience and cultivates community connections. Collaborating with frontline services such as community police and schools, the project addresses social isolation, low self-esteem, and economic deprivation – issues which often led to offending and involvement with police.  

This inventive approach blends creative expression with community partnerships to address complex challenges while nurturing resilience and confidence. By providing a safe space and building a trusting relationship with the police, Strong Girls has not only reduced the risk of offending behaviour but also given a sense of community and belonging to the young women involved.  

Through partnerships with community organisations, young girls are introduced to focus groups and consultations, and encouraged to advocate for change in their communities. The programme also emphasises important topics like healthy relationships, equipping young women with the skills they need to navigate life’s challenges. 

For many, Strong Girls has been truly transformative. From improved confidence and digital skills to educational support and work placements, it has opened doors and provided pathways to success.  

As one young woman about to start her career said: “I grew up in an area that has major issues with poverty, crime, and drugs, and this had a clear effect on my mental health, worsened by the pandemic. Joining Strong Girls at 14 was a turning point. Initially reluctant to take part, encouragement from community police was important. Workshops on rap, music, and empowerment helped me get through issues like local violence. Participation improved my confidence, digital skills, and understanding of poverty. Now, I’m co-designing sports activities, and I’m on the way for my dream career as a PE teacher.” 

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