Cyrenians among recipients of latest round of Cashback for Communities funding



Humzah Yousaf

Projects for disadvantaged young people will share £19 million seized from criminals as part of the CashBack for Communities scheme, the Scottish Government has announced.

The scheme reinvests criminal assets into community projects which support young people into positive destinations, diverting some away from potentially criminal or anti-social behaviour.

A total of 24 organisations have been awarded funding, taking the total investment in the unique programme to more than £110m since it began in 2008.

New organisations to benefit from the latest round of CashBack for Communities funding include homelessness charity Cyrenians, Eden Court arts project in Inverness and the Mayfield & Easthouses Youth 2000 Project. They will work closely with young people from areas of deprivation to provide them with positive opportunities to raise their attainment and aspirations.

Thanks to the funding, Cyrenians will work alongside Scotland’s five secure units to support young people and their families over the next three years.

Family breakdown is by far the most immediate trigger for youth homelessness in Scotland, with poverty playing a key underlying role. Disproportionately, those with experience of homelessness, including a high percentage of Scotland’s prison population, will have had prior experience of the care system.

At any one time in Scotland, up to 84 young people can be in secure accommodation. The aim of such secure care units is ‘to provide intensive support and safe boundaries to help these highly vulnerable children re-engage and move forward positively in their communities’. Until now, there has been no national approach to offering the same level of support to young people and their families upon entering and leaving care across all five units in Scotland.

Without support, the issues affecting families and young people – whether the impact of earlier ACEs (adverse childhood experiences), low income and related stresses – can be left unchecked. Communication can break down, and relationships can fracture, with devastating consequences for the young person, their families and the wider community.

Since 1968, Cyrenians has been tackling the causes and consequences of homelessness. Cyrenians new ‘Keeping Families Together’ project will support young people (12+) in secure accommodation and their families at the point of admission and those who are in the process of returning home.

Building on its award-winning ‘Amber’ model of mediation and support, offering 1-to-1 support from skilled mediators, practical support for each family member, and conflict resolution workshops, the project will help build positive relationships, promote better communication, and reduce the potential for future conflict and its further consequences.

Kerry Watson, service manager at Cyrenians, said: “Strong, positive relationships are essential to a person’s health and wellbeing, and that could not be truer for young people. At what can only be an enormously stressful and difficult period in a young person’s life, it is only right that both the young person and the rest of the family receive the support they need to maintain and rebuild those relationships, and for the young person, where possible, to return home to a positive environment.”

Across society, there is widespread support and recognition for greater wrap-around services for those entering and leaving the care system – it is often those points, at the ‘edges’ of the care system, when young people are most at risk.

Ewan Aitken, CEO of Cyrenians, added: “A compassionate society ensures that everyone, no matter their background, has the opportunity to lead a valued and fulfilling life.

“It is a profound injustice that those who have had experience of institutional care are then more likely to have lower educational attainment, reduced employment prospects, and be more likely to find themselves without a home – whether that’s in the justice system, sofa-surfing, temporary accommodation, or sleeping rough.

“This is a shared responsibility for the whole of society. Our whole-systems approach promotes ways we can work with others to ensure we intervene early on, before costly, crisis-driven, remedial responses are needed down the line.”

Justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “CashBack is a unique and potentially life-transforming programme that helps expand young people’s horizons and supports them to realise their ambitions and reach their full potential.

“This phase of CashBack has a particular focus on projects that support young people and communities most affected by crime. We are working hard to tackle the root causes of crime and disorder through early intervention and to ensure those affected have the support in place to steer them away from criminal or antisocial behaviour.

“Since the programme began in 2008 we have delivered over two and a half million activities and opportunities for young people across Scotland and I am delighted that many further young people will be supported and inspired over the next three years.”

Groups to benefit from the latest CashBack funding will be:

  • Access to Industry*
  • Achieve More Scotland*
  • Action for Children
  • Barnardos
  • Basketball Scotland
  • Celtic Football Club Foundation
  • Cyrenians*
  • Eden Court*
  • Impact Arts
  • Includem*
  • Mayfield and Easthouses Y2K*
  • National Autistic Society
  • Ocean Youth Trust
  • Police Scotland’s peer mentoring project
  • Princes Trust
  • Rangers Charity Foundation*
  • SFA
  • Station House Media Unit*
  • SPFL*
  • SRU
  • Scottish Sports Futures
  • Ydance*
  • Youth Scotland
  • Youthlink

*New partners for phase 5



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