Project name: CashBack VOW Project and Turn Your Life Around with CashBack
Age range: 10 – 24 years
Number of Young People Project expects to work with: 1,200
A collaborative project across Edinburgh involving police officers, working alongside inspirational Peer Mentors and TYLAC volunteers, who use their lived experience of the criminal justice system, trauma, and adversity to make a real difference to the lives of young people. The team use their unique skillset to engage and work with vulnerable young-people aged 16–24 years old, and to provide a level of support which assists them to break the cycle of criminality and re-offending and to reducing the level of risk taking behaviour in their lives at that time. Through positive mentoring, empowerment and working in partnership with a range of organisations, these young people are supported and encouraged to make positive lifestyle changes, rebuild relationships and pick up their shattered lives and ultimately improve their outcomes.
Police Officers on their own, are often unable to fully engage with all of the young people they need to help, due to barriers and societal differences. The use of peer mentors to achieve this interaction cannot be underestimated and a symbiotic relationship exists between both. Peer mentors carry out initial interactions using their own life experience and are able to engage with the young people and help them take their first steps in moving away from their harm inducing behaviour. Working alongside the police officers, the existing strengths of the clients are brought out, relationships are built and the young people are supported in a safe environment. The team discover that young person’s hopes and dreams and establish themselves as a positive role models for the individual and provide a high level of support and encouragement. The young people are thereafter assisted in making positive choices and an action plan is agreed around reducing offending, building relationships, mental-health resilience and finally work or training opportunities using both statutory and third sector partners.
The project also sees the team go into primary and secondary schools across Edinburgh, including alternative educational and youth settings, where they tell their stories of adversity and deliver messages on topics such as choices, decision making and peer pressure. The young people are then given a platform to discuss the stories, reflect on resilience factors and given the means to seek help with their own lives. The trauma counselling service will augment the existing trauma counselling skills the officers and peer mentors have, which assists the TYLAC volunteers and the vulnerable young people we are helping to turn their lives around.
Areas where project will be delivered:
Various communities across Edinburgh, primary and secondary schools, youth provision settings, Young People’s Centres and secure units and working in collaboration with existing Cashback for Communities projects.