Life-changing service for young people under threat amid funding cuts

Life-changing service for young people under threat amid funding cuts <i>(Image: Pexels Stock)</i>
Life-changing service for young people under threat amid funding cuts (Image: Pexels Stock)

A leading Glasgow charity is warning that a life-changing befriending and mentoring service for children and young people faces severe cuts if new funding can’t be found.

Volunteer Glasgow needs to raise £110,000 over the next year to maintain community-based befriending and mentoring services for children aged 8 to 18 across the city.

Dr Tom Berry, chair at Volunteer Glasgow, urged people to understand the importance of the charity.

He said: "If we are genuinely aiming to ‘get it right for every child’ in Glasgow and Scotland, we can’t afford to lose these services.

“I’m also a panel member at Children’s Hearings and know how needed, and hugely important, these resources are for the welfare and future lives of the city’s young people.”

According to the charity, every child who was matched with a volunteer last year achieved one or more key outcomes, like providing an element of protection, increasing self-confidence, skills, engagement in community activities an accessing services for the wider family.

Ricky, an 18-year-old who used the service for two years, said: "I have learned how to interact with people, my confidence has grown - I know this because I never used to talk to people.

"Having John as my befriender helped me to talk to my family more."

A volunteer that has worked as a befriender for the last 15 years, Carole, sang the praises of the organisation.

She said: “It has to be one of the greatest things I’ve ever done in my spare time.  It’s great fun.

"But it’s built on trust, mutual respect and the excellent foundations of training, support and supervision provided by the small staff team.

"And it’s made a massive difference to the children and young people I’ve been matched with.”

Volunteers deliver a powerful message because they are unpaid: they choose to consistently spend time with our children and young people which has an immediate and enduring, positive impact on children’s self-esteem.

Originally set up with 100 per cent grant funding from central then local government, these services are now wholly supported by charitable trusts and individual donations – despite most of the children and young people being referred by colleagues in statutory services in Education and Social Work (HSCP).

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