East Dunbartonshire is the latest local authority to embrace how includem can deliver positive outcomes for its at-risk young people.
ConnectED is a new two-year partnership with the local authority funded through the UK Government Shared Prosperity Fund via the Glasgow City Region and East Dunbartonshire Council, that will work with young people at risk of falling into the justice system to help them make more positive life choices.
Ben Hogan, leads a five strong team that will be working with youths primarily in Lenzie, Bishopbriggs, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch to try and help them develop skills and achieve better career and social outcomes.
The project will work with young people in the 10-26 age range but most of their interaction will be with youths in their mid to late teens.
ConnectEd will work towards improving, life chances and skills for young people, their health and attainment, intergenerational understandings and civic pride. They will also work to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour whilst improving community safety.
‘We are currently building partnerships with the police and youth workers within schools and community wardens, as a stepping stone to see what sort of at-risk young people we might encounter while out on shift,’ said Ben.
‘Our shifts are primarily Thursday, Friday Saturday evening where we can interact most readily with young people who might benefit from our services.’
The team is currently using a hot spot list they’ve been given by partners Police Scotland and community wardens to find out where young people are hanging out.
‘We are very much at the relationship building stage, making sure young people know who we are and what we can offer, knowing that we’re not there to move them on or to get them in trouble. We want to reassure them that we are there to help make sure they’re safe and make sure they understand how we can help,’ added Ben.
‘At these early stages safety is key, once we’ve established positive relationships with these groups, we can then go into tailoring support to individuals who might benefit from includem services or to sign post them to other organisations in the area that they may benefit from.’
‘Long term we want to see young people developing the skills needed to go on to more positive destinations whether that’s going to college or into employment. We’re not there to stop anti-social behaviour we are there to prevent it, changing attitudes from negative to positive behaviours whether this is through group work or with individuals.’