Charity transforming young people’s lives in Fife through innovative new programmes
Fife is at the forefront of an innovative new programme which aims to turn young people’s lives around.
The ‘Steps To Resilience’ course is run by health and wellbeing charity, LinkLiving, and is designed to help young people who have experienced trauma in their life, are struggling with poor mental health and/or are experiencing inequality and isolation.
The charity has run eight of these personal development courses to date and they are currently launching new courses in Kirkcaldy and Falkirk.
A phenomenal 90 per cent of participants on the first Falkirk based course in 2018 have moved on to positive destinations (full-time employment, further education, volunteering) and they reported increases in confidence and self-belief, life skills and the ability to manage stress and anxiety. They also received support to engage with other local services to help them in different ways.
There are two programmes. One is specifically for young people aged 14-16 who are struggling to attend school due to mental health issues. The other is for 16-25 year olds, where a young person can refer themselves or be recommended by a social worker, homelessness prevention officer, the Scottish Government’s Developing Young Workforce (DYW) programme, or another local charity or organisation.
The courses are funded by a National Lottery Young Start grant, Cash Back for Communities and the John Scott Charitable Trust and Steps To Resilience has been so popular that LinkLiving can’t meet the demand.
They already have a substantial waiting list, so the charity is now seeking additional funding to roll this out to more young people in Fife and Falkirk and potentially extend into other areas in East Central Scotland such as Edinburgh and Clackmannanshire where there is huge interest in the programme.
Father of two Jamie Mowbray (20) from Kirkcaldy, heard about Steps To Resilience when he was at college. He was struggling with his mental health and anger issues and thought it would be good for him because he could learn coping strategies.
Jamie said: “I wanted to be able to keep my anger under control and improve my mental health. I knew I’d enjoy the team building activities and working in a group. I can be confident at times and I’m good at bringing groups together.”
Jamie was 14 when he was taken into residential care until he was 17. He’d grown up in Anstruther but his care placement was in Edinburgh, so this was a difficult transition to make.
Although Jamie was in care for a relatively short time, he says it still had a real impact on his mental health.
He said: “Being in care with people I didn’t know and attending a different school in a big city where I didn’t feel safe was really scary. There were a lot of negative influences in my life and I struggled to stay on the right track.
“My son was a saving point in my life, when he arrived I changed completely. I was a new man. I wanted to better myself to give him a good life.”
His son is now two years old, and Jamie also has a four-month-old daughter.
Jamie added: “I wanted to help myself and having the course tutors in my life really helped me to do that. The tutors taught me to stay calm and focused, to work hard and stay out of trouble.
“They showed me to take things with a pinch of salt and try not to get angry because it’s a waste of energy. I try to live in the present now, and not worry about the past or future. I’ve also learned to take a breather and chill out and know that things will get better.
“Without this course my family would say I’d be dead or in the jail by the age of 18. God knows where I would have ended up, it’s been life changing. I understand myself better now and take responsibility for myself.”
Sarah Smith, chief executive of LinkLiving, said: “Our aim is to help young people break the negative and destructive cycles of behaviour that they may have fallen into because they have never had the support they needed previously to cope with trauma and disadvantage in their life.
“This includes helping young homeless people and those who are coming out of care to develop personal resilience, which involves developing practical and emotional skills.
“We provide truly person-centred support, helping young people to become more employable by offering volunteering opportunities and the care and support they need to move on positively in their lives.
“These young people already show a high level of determination, they have already survived a host of adverse circumstances.
“Steps To Resilience helps these young people to channel that energy in a positive way by nurturing their qualities and skills to help them make better life choices and a brighter future.”
For more information visit: www.linkliving.org.uk/steps