National success for Lanarkshire youth projects

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A top three Lanarkshire projects were among the winners of the prestigious National Youth Work Awards organized by YouthLink Scotland.

Young Climate Ambassadors from North Lanarkshire won the environment and conservation category, while the Go To mental health service run by Regen:fx with Liber8 in South Lanarkshire received the health and wellbeing award.

Youth workers from North Lanarkshire Council’s Community Learning and Development Department were named Team of the Year, while Principal June Ford was a finalist in the ‘Inspirational Leader’ category.



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The Climate Ambassadors played a key role at last year’s COP 26 environment conference in Glasgow, where they took part in the Scottish Youth Climate Declaration, met Environment Minister Mairi McAllan and shared their short film, Dear World Leaders.

He saw members questioning council leaders and laying out their demands for action on climate change; it has garnered over 1000 views and has been highly praised by both Education Scotland’s Learning for Sustainability Awards and as part of the Keep Scotland Beautiful Youth Climate Film Project and Screen Scotland.

Members of the group have been meeting weekly online or outdoors since its formation just over a year ago and take action by doing litter pick-ups, promoting conservation in their communities and hosting workshops, as well as exploring environmental issues through creative projects.

North Lanarkshire’s youth work team won the national award in recognition of their ‘renowned turnouts’ with more than 700 young people winning a range of awards such as the Saltire and Dynamic Youth programs last year.



North Lanarkshire Community Learning and Development Workers have been named Team of the Year
North Lanarkshire Community Learning and Development Workers have been named Team of the Year

They coordinated childcare centers during the Covid pandemic and found new ways to provide digital and detached opportunities such as the Big Camp Out online event, with the judges noting: “Their response to the pandemic ensured that the young people of the region were supported through difficulties and difficult times.

Described as ‘industry leader’, the team has also successfully engaged with young people experiencing intersectionality and the damaging effects of poverty, and created a new transformation council – backed unanimously by councilors – to ensure the improvement of the voice of young people with the local authority.

Larkhall-based Regen:fx youth trust has won the health and wellbeing award for its mental health service Go To, described as a ‘groundbreaking [and] impactful partnership” with youth workers and a dedicated advisory service Liber8 Lanarkshire.

The project includes one-on-one support, youth leadership, peer mentoring, counseling and life skills, and is led by a youth advisory group whose members have experienced mental health issues and helped to developing programs for young people and a toolkit with advice. , activities and contact details of support services.



Regen:fx youth trust and mental health project Liber8 won the health and wellness category at the YouthLink event
Regen:fx youth trust and mental health project Liber8 won the health and wellness category at the YouthLink event

It helps to improve ‘the mental health and life chances of some of South Lanarkshire’s most vulnerable young people’ through opportunities ranging from volunteering and employment schemes to action sports.

Trust Director Wendy McIinally said: “Our youth workers are also trained CBT therapists, so they are particularly well equipped to meet the needs of young people; This non-clinical, youth-friendly approach has resulted in a service that young people find easy to engage with.

“All of our young people have reported an increase in more positive mental health and wellbeing, which demonstrates the power of this partnership.”

Band member Rebekka Springett added, “Being part of Go To has helped me gain confidence and given me opportunities I never thought I’d have the confidence to participate in.”

Meanwhile, leadership runner-up June Ford has been described as ‘the bedrock on which North Lanarkshire’s talented youth work team is built’ for her impact on both young people and her colleagues.

The judges noted that the team leader’s “passion for young people has enabled the team to thrive in the adversity of the pandemic, creating safe local spaces, expanding access to accreditation, promoting outdoor learning opportunities and launching several youth voice groups,” and adding that she has “created opportunities – and often careers – that simply wouldn’t have existed without her drive and determination “.

The awards were presented at a dinner in Glasgow hosted by Still Game star Jane McCarry and attended by Youth Work Minister Jamie Hepburn, the Cumbernauld MSP.

YouthLink Scotland’s chief executive, Tim Frew, said: “The Climate Ambassadors have shown the true power of young people’s voice and action, changing attitudes in their local community and becoming part of a movement. world of youth to save our planet.

“The North Lanarkshire Youth Work Team and the Go To Mental Health Service are fantastic examples of life-changing work, supporting young people when they need it most.

“It has been difficult to say the least to be a young person for a few years, and the many restrictions and challenges facing young people during this pandemic have required a double dose of this spirit, this courage, this optimism, this agility and resilience.”

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