Growing2gether receive funding from The National Lottery Community Fund!

Growing2gether receive funding from The National Lottery Community Fund!

Ecologia Youth Trust have won a major National Lottery award from The National Lottery Community Fund for its innovative Growing2gether mentoring programme. The 3-year grant, worth £135,000, will empower 664 young people in the Highlands to build resilience, recognise their potential and take control of their lives.

The Growing2gether mentoring programme is attended by pupils, aged 13-15, who are experiencing challenging circumstances, and make an informed choice to participate. The 18-week programme includes mentoring nursery children and attending peer group sessions with facilitated activities, e.g, self-esteem, self-management and anti-social behaviour. The programme leads to a University of
Highland and Islands accredited SCQF Level 3/4 Qualification – Personal Development: (‘Self in the Community’/Self Awareness’). This gives the young people an experience of success and re-engages them in school and in their community.

Diana Whitmore, Director Scotland, who developed the Growing2gether programme, said:

“This generous grant will make a huge difference to the young people we support and also their communities. Working in a group with their peers helps disengaged young people learn how to function in society and practice new relational skills/behaviours with the children they are mentoring, nursery staff, and each other, coached by skilled facilitators who help them recognise their strengths.”

The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said:

I am delighted that Ecologia Youth Trust has been successful in securing a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund. The award will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish the Ecologia Youth Trust every success as it goes on to develop and expand Growing2gether for the benefit of their local community.”

The young people the programme empowers are at risk of social exclusion and are disengaged. They can have low levels of social and emotional development and are at high risk of poor mental health, negative behaviour and leaving education early with no qualifications. All of these issues impact the young people and the community.

Growing2gether was developed in partnership with young people, Highland Council, schools and parents, who highlighted an urgent need for an early intervention using small group dynamics and positive psychology to help young people to find their own solutions.

I could have gone down a really bad road at one time…. but (doing Growing2gether and) knowing what I want to do has made all the difference.”
Growing2gether participant – Jan, 14 years.

As part of delivery, the charity trains local people to run the programme in the future, providing a lasting legacy for the community and helping reach more young people.

Growing2gether provides an incredibly valuable learning opportunity in our school.  We have witnessed pupils at risk of disengaging, develop a real sense of value and worth as a result of the programme.  The quality of the provision and the evaluative approach taken by Growing2gether is excellent.”

Karen Cormack – Head Teacher, Dingwall Academy.

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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.