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The Anchor Highland CashBack Launches

14th July 2023
Image of balloons surrounding a table with cakes on.

The Anchor Highland CashBack Project officially launched on July 4th 2023 in Inverness. The Anchor is a community-based hub with a targeted, assertive outreach/response team focusing on individuals subjected to exploitation. The project, which received £453,218 from the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities scheme, aims to support 135 young people aged 13 to 18 over the next 3 years.

Led by Barnardo’s, the Anchor Highland CashBack is part of a wider Highland partnership and offers a hub for education, training and employment support; facilitating access to health services, first aid, sexual health, and naloxone; and Through Care, After Care Pathways Coordinators.

Barnardo’s Scotland is working in collaboration with Action for Children and Aberlour to support 135 young people for the next three years.

The Anchor Highland CashBack programme will focus on three key areas of support:

Street Work – The team engage with young people through street work, building trusting relationships by identifying needs and providing information and advice. The Anchor Hub building is accessible in evenings and weekends, offering a safe space where young people receive hot food and refreshments.

Alternative Space – The Hub offers an alternative space for young people, to reduce the number of young people congregating in unsafe locations and who risk involvement in anti-social behaviours and becoming targets for criminal/sexual perpetrators. Anchor also provides telephone and text services.

A trauma informed, rights based, relational approach – This activity underpins our work with young people. By listening to them, we promote their strengths and assets and what matters to them and ensure that young people’s needs are identified, and they receive timely, responsive support to reduce the risk of problems escalating and the need for increasing statutory intervention.

We recognised that to deliver the best service to children, families and young people with The Promise at the core, a strategic partnership approach was critical. This is why our alliance with Action for Children and Aberlour – as well as other key local organisations – will allow us to support scores of young people in the Highlands to the best of our ability.

Delivering the service in this area is vital as research from Police Scotland has revealed a huge increase in child sexual exploitation since 2015. And since October 2021, more than 85 young people under the age of 18 have been identified as subjects of risk and exploitation.

Martin Crewe, Director of Barnardo’s Scotland

We are pleased to be part of this strategic partnership to provide a safe space and street work to assist young people in the community. There has been an alarming increase in the number of vulnerable young people on the streets of Inverness and we have been deeply concerned for their welfare. By working collaboratively, we can expect to achieve much better outcomes for these young people.

Jim Wallace, Aberlour, Director of Children and Families

We are proud to join forces with Barnardo’s Scotland and Aberlour in our shared commitment to protecting vulnerable young people in Inverness and the surrounding area. Action for Children is committed to keeping The Promise, and programmes such as this can have a lifechanging impact on the outcomes for the children and young people we support, care for and love.

We know from our years of experience delivering our Serious Organised Crime Early Intervention Service that this project’s focus on building relationships and trust with young people will be crucial to its success. I am confident that by working together with Barnardo’s Scotland and Aberlour we can best utilise our experience and resources to support the young people in the Highlands and protect them from the dangers of exploitation.

Fiona Steel, Action for Children’s Acting Director for Scotland

The Anchor Service is helping to create a safer future for young people like me. It’s an environment that has love and support and a place to escape worries and troubles that we face outside of those doors.

Young person

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