£32,000 grant secures future of Borders youth project

Rhona Calder.
Rhona Calder.

The future of a Hawick-based youth advice service has been secured for another two years by a £32,000 grant.

Roxburgh and Berwickshire Citizens’ Advice Bureau landed the funding from the Robertson Trust to run the award-winning Youth Info project, based at the bureau’s office at Towerdykeside.

Originally set up in Berwickshire in 2009, the project is aimed at youngsters in the Borders between the ages of 16 and 25 and offers them confidential advice and support.

Issues covered include debt, benefits, work, relationships and housing.

The project’s work involves visiting schools across the Borders to persuade young people to get involved in volunteering work to improve their chances in the jobs market.

Rhona Calder, manager of the bureau, welcomed the latest funding support, to be matched by Citizens’ Advice Scotland next year.

She said: “When the project started in 2009, we received funding from the Fairer Scotland Fund, originally for two years, and then that was extended for a further two and a half years.

“We then received funding from the Bank of Scotland and were able to roll out the project across Roxburgh.

“At the heart of what we do are the young people themselves. They help us progress our work through focus groups and through their work on social media. We act on the things they tell us.

“The sixth-formers we deliver presentations to in schools then go on to pass on advice to the fourth and fifth-formers in the school.

“In the presentations, we highlight the benefits of volunteering and give very basic budgeting advice, such as the difference between a credit card and a debit card.

“We appreciate the continued match funding from the Robertson Trust, enabling us to deliver an advice service to young people in the Borders in locations and mediums deemed accessible to them.

“We encourage young people to become volunteers to increase their employability.”

The project’s young persons’ adviser, Andrea Mee, a former volunteer herself, of Burnfoot, said: “It is very rewarding work, and it is really important to get across the message to the 16 to 25-year-olds that the service is available and make them aware of its confidentiality, that there is no third person involved, because trust is a big aspect for them. That is very important to them.”

Lesley Macdonald, head of giving at the Robertson Trust, said: “The aims of the Youth Info project are a natural fit with our Strengthening Communities funding strand, and we look forward to see how it progresses in the coming months.

“We believe it is vitally important that young people are given the practical advice they need to make strong financial decisions and improve their financial literacy, especially around consumer issues and money management.”

The trust was established in 1961 to help charities large and small.

To seek out advice, contact Youth Info@CAB

The Hawick office is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. For further information, call 01450 374266.

The bureau will be closed for Christmas from Friday, December 23, at 12.30pm and will reopen on Thursday, January 5, at 10am.