Growing2gether Becomes Independent Charity!

Growing2gether Becomes Independent Charity!

We’re very pleased to share with you that one of our projects, Growing2gether, has recently formed as an independent SCIO and has become an innovative Scottish charity! Growing2gether is the only programme in Scotland to pair disadvantaged young people as mentors to nursery children with social and personal challenges, combined with peer training in emotional skills to build mental health. The newly-formed charity was first developed by Diana Whitmore, MAEd, after three years’ consultation with young people, Highland Council, schools and parents, who highlighted a need for an intensive programme to support the mental health of Scotland’s children. Their robust evaluation proves that they
have transformed the lives of many young people facing disadvantage, building their mental health, educational and community engagement and life skills.

I hope everyone is as proud of me as I am of myself.” – Programme Participant

Growing2gether first joined Ecologia Youth Trust in January 2017 as a newly established project. As part of Ecologia, Growing2gether has gone from strength to strength, reaching over 1330 young people and children across the Highlands. Their continued success as a programme under Ecologia enabled them to finally fly the nest and move forward in their development plans.

Their ambition is to expand to other deprived areas including Dundee and Aberdeen. They train local school staff in skills to deliver the programme in the future with ongoing outcome evaluation and quality assurance provided by the charity. Through Growing2gether’s partnership with Highland Council, they train Youth Development Workers employed by the Council, who work alongside school facilitators. This increases sustainability and helps the charity reach more young people.

Diana Whitmore, CEO of Growing2gether says,

Every young person has unique potential and our role is to listen and to guide them with the respect and care they need to see this for themselves. The innovative, remarkable experience of giving back to their community and seeing that they can make a difference to another child’s life, builds lasting self-belief and helps them recognise their skills. We believe in the power of relationships to create an everlasting impact. Because the young people have created the change in themselves, in the safe world of a supportive group, it sticks.”

Liza Hollingshead, Founder and Director of Ecologia Youth Trust says,

We wish Growing2gether well as they move forward on their journey to build the mental health and life skills of young people across Scotland. I’m sure they will continue to build on the achievements they have delivered so far.”

For more information about Growing2gether, please visit their website.

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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.