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.”