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Report highlights CashBack pandemic pressures, adaption and success

6th June 2022

“The CashBack project has become a bit of a lifeline for some of our young people, it has kept them engaged and healthy.” – CashBack delivery partner

Published today, Research Scotland’s report “CashBack for Communities – Focus on Covid-19” explores lessons from CashBack for Communities delivery partners during the Covid 19 pandemic.

The report focuses on spring 2020 to spring 2022, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the delivery of the CashBack for Communities programme.

The programme takes funds recovered from the proceeds of crime and invests them into free activities and programmes across Scotland, largely, but not exclusively, for young people.

The report highlights the effect of the pandemic on programme participants, on delivery partners, their staff and their projects. The report details the extent to which project activity was restricted, and the methods used by project staff to ensure young people were still supported to the greatest extent possible.

The severe impact of the pandemic on young people, their families and communities was emphasised by all delivery partners:

“The lasting effects of the pandemic will be significant for young people and their families for years to come.” – CashBack delivery partner

“There is real anxiety amongst kids, the pandemic has been a form of trauma for a lot of them and this is likely to have a lasting impact on them.” – CashBack delivery partner

In response to the negative pandemic impacts they saw on young people, partners made significant adaptations, including:

  • Increasing practical support, such as Achieve More Scotland staff volunteering for Covid-19 related community work to keep and extend connections with their young participants.
  • Switching to outdoor activity, with delivery partners introducing outdoor variants of their programmes.
  • Going online, such as Station House Media Unit making use of the “email a prisoner” scheme to maintain engagement with young prisoners, or Impact Arts pivoting their arts-based programme to online delivery.

These new approaches, while not without challenges, led to many successes: 13,978 young people benefitted from CashBack activities between April 2020 and March 2021.

“Our whole model of youth work has changed in a positive way… and is delivering a greater range of outcomes for young people.” – CashBack delivery partner

“Online delivery has been a revelation, it has helped to strengthen our offer to young people.” – CashBack delivery partner

“It was a real positive from Covid that we were able to reach people that we would not have reached before the pandemic.” – CashBack delivery partner

As the report concludes, CashBack for Communities projects felt that the pandemic emphasised just how important their work is, and the need for ongoing youth, community development, creativity, physical activity, employability and justice-focused work to support young people to overcome the additional challenges presented by the pandemic.

To access the full evaluation report, please click here – Research Scotland’s “CashBack for Communities – Focus on Covid-19”.

For more on the impact of CashBack for Communities, please click here for the report – 2020/21 Annual Impact Report.

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