Cabinet Secretary Discusses Future with Young People on Valentine’s Day

Cabinet Secretary Discusses Future with Young People on Valentine’s Day

Communities and Local Government Cabinet Secretary, Aileen Campbell met with young people and staff from ‘Growing2gether in the Community’ on Valentine’s day.

We were thrilled to host her visit and the young people were amazing in their eloquence and insight in how the programme had impacted their lives. We are so proud of the young people we work with – who they are and how rich with wonderful gifts, qualities and character traits. Cabinet Secretary visited Charleston Academy and Kinmylies Nursery to meet young people and staff. Special thanks to the staff at both schools who went that extra mile in organizing the event.

Picture: Andrew Smith

I am always amazed to hear young people speak about Growing2gether. Without any guidance from us, we ask them just to be themselves and to speak from their hearts. Heartful is too mild a word to describe young people speaking with confidence and self- belief in themselves and what they are capable of achieving.

Ms Campbell, who came to confirm the second round of support from the Scottish Government’s Aspiring Communities Fund and European Social Fund, met with our young people who volunteer to mentor and support the development of small children, in partner nurseries, providing them with work experience, a responsible job to do and a respected role in their community. With Growing2gether in the Community, young people are able to take the time to work out the options for their future, increasing their interpersonal and social capital; awareness of the impact they have on others; dreaming into positive futures and what they need to do to make those futures real. The programme also includes them designing and delivering youth led community projects which address the needs of their local communities.

Picture: Andrew Smith
Picture: Andrew Smith






I can only say: ‘we are thrilled the Minister has had the time to see for herself the difference our unique approach makes to the skills and abilities of our participants. Having met and spoken with the teenagers, I am certain the value of our work is clear to her. We are delighted that the Scottish Government, European Social Fund and other funders continue to believe in our work and are grateful that the new funding means we can serve more deserving young people throughout the Highlands’.

Diana Whitmore

Find out more about Growing2gether in the Community here.

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susie Kemp

Susie has 30+ experience as a creative copywriter, editor, and proofreader, starting out as a 20-year-old copywriter in the Mad Men world of early 1990s advertising in South Africa. Ever since, she’s had a love affair with creative conceptualisation, thinking outside of the box, writing to a deadline, and being thrown in the deep end!

She took an MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University as a mature student, in 2015, and continues to keep herself busy working as a copy-editor, proofreader and copywriter in book publishing, corporate communications, and publishing project management.

Apart from her love of working with independent authors, Susie has a fondness for working in the third sector and likes to use her corporate communications and marketing experience to support projects close to her heart. She has lived and worked in the Findhorn area for 25 years, and has been involved in a number of third sector projects and organisations, and family businesses.

Working at Ecologia Youth Trust helps Susie to live in integrity with her values of supporting the next generation to be the best that they can be, and she sees it as a way to give back to Mama Africa, the beloved continent on which she was born.

Ellen Shaw

Ellen joined the Ecologia team in June 2018 as Marketing and Communications Manager. Ellen has lived in Scotland for 6 years and has worked for non-profit and charitable organisations across varied fields. She currently shares her passion for helping young people through Ecologia Youth Trust and she works as a dancer and dance teacher in her spare time.

Robyn Cooper

Robyn is the Associate Director of International Projects, having previously worked within the team as a Project Development and Marketing Officer from April 2019 until May 2021. As Associate Director, Robyn is co-leading the International side of Ecologia with Founder and Director, Liza Hollingshead, bringing a new energy into Ecologia as they look towards the future of the charity.

Liza Hollingshead

Liza is the founder of Ecologia and Director of International Projects. She was born and educated in South Africa and worked there as a high school teacher. She moved to live in the Findhorn Community in 1974. She started Ecologia in 1995 after being introduced to Dmitry Morozov, the founder of Kitezh Children’s Community in Russia, and was inspired to support the community in its mission to rescue orphaned children from institutions and give them homes, families and education in a supportive environment.

This led to projects supporting disadvantaged youth and children in South East Asia and in East Africa. TRead more about Liza’s story here.