Young People Making a Difference in their Community

Young People Making a Difference in their Community

Growing2gether is making changes in the community, thanks to a grant from the Scottish Government and the European Social Fund. Three Growing2gether in the Community projects have been developed by our young people to bring attention to issues that they felt were important to them.

Mental Health Mural

The Charleston Academy group were inspired to create a mural on their school grounds that addresses the subject of mental health. After asking fellow pupils ‘what makes you happy?’ and ‘what makes you sad?’, they designed the mural based on the answers with the assistance of a talented pupil and a gifted visual artist. The school is fully supportive of this project and once it is finished, the mural will be a resource for young people who have concerns about their mental health, signposting them to organisations like Mikey’s Line, a local charity that supports people with mental health issues.

Teenage Pregnancy and Healthy Relationships

The group from Inverness Royal Academy made a film at Eden Court in Inverness with an actor hired by the young people, which brings to light the consequences of not using protection during sex. The group approached WAVE, a local sexual health service in Inverness, with their idea and they loved it, offering to support the group during the process and to host it on their website once it was finished. The film was shown at the Highland Youth Parliament Conference in June 2019 and WAVE want to continue to work with the group, to develop their film into a sex education resource that can become part of the school curriculum in the Highlands.

“Do you know what you’re taking?”

This is one of the questions that the Invergordon group is asking as part of their drug awareness campaign. The group worked with a local graphic designer to develop a series of posters to display in their school and in areas around the community where young people socialise. Their intention is to help young people question the impact of taking drugs – ‘Do they know what they are taking?’ ‘Do they know what they are dealing with?’ ‘Do they want to accept the risks involved?’ Rising to the challenge of promoting their campaign, they approached local shops and businesses, who all agreed to display their posters. They also use Social Media platforms such as Snapchat and the school Facebook page to support their campaign to reach as wide an audience as possible. They have also developed a survey for members of their community to determine the impact of the campaign.

Lucy’s Journey with Growing2gether in the Community

Lucy* is 14, and the youngest child in her family. She was brought up by her Mum and has no contact with her Dad. She is dyslexic and has been bullied in school. The ‘teen pregnancy’ video project is a topic close to her heart as her mum had two children by the age of 17. She has taken on the role of ‘director’ quite naturally and her assertiveness and confidence has grown. “I love directing and meeting people like Rhys Campbell, the Youth Development Officer and filmmaker on our project. This project has made me more aware that not everyone is OK when they are pregnant in their teens because their partners can leave them. I’m a lot closer to my mum because of the project as now I know what she went through. I’ve become more confident in myself, I feel more able to speak out now and I enjoy working in groups.”

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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.