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Tell us about how the project started, what has developed, how it is resourced and your insight into the keys to success.

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Larbert Youth Trust

In 2006, a local Church of Scotland minister had the idea of having a dedicated youth worker based in the local secondary school. As he shared the idea with other ministers in the area, more people caught the vision, and eight of the churches agreed to form a partnership and work together. They approached SU Scotland and discovered that their proposal would be an ideal fit with the Associate Worker Scheme. SU Scotland provides training, payroll admin, line management and a network of workers as their part of the partnership with the local churches. The local secondary school was supportive of the initiative, and offered the churches a desk for the worker in the school; and in 2010, the first worker was appointed. Other churches have since become aware of the project, and are supporting in different ways. The worker is the chair of the school’s chaplaincy team, which has representatives of all eight churches on it.

What developed?

  •  ‘Drop in’ at the youth worker’s office to support vulnerable young people
  • Working with P7’s as part of their transition to secondary school
  • Helping out the school breakfast club and football club
  • SU groups
  • Church members supporting the school by volunteering to drive minibuses or accompany young people on trips
  • SU activity weekends away
  • Regularly building relationships with different groups of young people in the lunch hall
  • The school now also serves the local church. Their school choir sings for the church once a year and the P7s put on a coffee morning for the community in the church

How is it resourced?

Initially the funds were raised from local support and grant applications (e.g. Church of Scotland Parish Development Fund).

Each local church supports differently. Some offer prayer support, others volunteers, or time from their staff members. They are looking at making the project sustainable through contributions from the supporting churches.

What is the key to success?

  • That which is being offered needs to be something that is genuinely of real benefit to the school, and not something superficial.
  • Relationships are really important, especially with key members of school staff.
  • It’s not just about employing a school’s worker; there still needs to be a team of volunteers, and people from the church community willing to get involved and support the local school.