The aim of the Ferrywell Youth Project is that through a project rooted in Christian faith and values, young people in the Pilton, Muirhouse and Drylaw area of Edinburgh will be valued and supported; live lives characterised by positive, healthy and responsible choices and have a significant impact on the community – including active engagement with local churches and other agencies.
The communities of Pilton, Muirhouse and Drylaw in North Edinburgh are characterised by poor educational achievement, drug and alcohol abuse, a lack of stable role models and high levels of unemployment. Out of the SIMD (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) datazones that FYP is focussing on, more than two thirds lie in the bottom 20% and half in the bottom 10% of values. Recently these communities have featured frequently in news headlines because of a rising number of incidents of violence and crime, many of them involving young people.
To date the work has been volunteer-led, but reached the stage where in order to develop more strategically and have greater impact, it became essential to have a full-time staff member. In April 2016 John Gillan was employed as full time worker, then in September 2017 Jane Hurst was employed part time as a part time support worker.
Some of the key initial aims of developing the work has included:
- A continued focus on the weekly youth club, DIME, with a greater priority on training volunteers.
- Build on existing relationships with local schools to develop curricular and extra-curricular activities, including a focus on developing the existing SU Groups.
- Develop a one-to-one mentoring scheme for young people who are currently most vulnerable and often face challenges at school. Volunteers will be identified and trained to enable this mentoring scheme to grow.
- Develop a base in the heart of the community which will provide a visible presence and will be used as a drop-in centre.
- Work with local churches so that young people can be challenged in their faith and form friendships with other Christians of a similar age.