A safe place to turn to

Photo: Aberlour Children's Charity AbJam Event

Moray Youth Opportunities
11 April 2024

Aberlour Youthpoint Moray: Helping young people keep their lives on track

Elaine Gibb

Photo: Having fun at Aberlour’s AbJam event

Within our Youth Opportunities strand we want more young people who face barriers in life to be provided with the best platform and opportunities to move forward and to lead fulfilling, healthy and happy lives.

Key learnings:

  • Many children and young people face multiple and enduring pressures on their lives.
  • This can have a significant impact on their emotions and behaviour and affect their longer-term life chances.
  • Spotting the signs and acting early is vital in helping them before things reach crisis point.
  • Dedicated, one-to-one, forward-looking support is key to help young people to succeed.

Imagine a young person facing a chaotic home life, bullying, struggling with friendship, isolation and exclusion.  These challenges can feel overwhelming, impacting their emotions, behaviour and overall well-being. Sometimes labelled as challenging or difficult, in reality these young people are often vulnerable and have little control over their problems, with their actions or behaviour a symptom of this.

If no-one understands this and there is no-one for them to turn to, things can escalate and they can find themselves at risk of school exclusion, involved in anti-social behaviour, in trouble with the authorities, at risk of harm and struggling to keep their lives on track. Having someone to turn to when things get difficult can make all the difference.

This is where Aberlour Youthpoint Moray steps in. The Service, part of Aberlour Children’s Charity, provides vital support for children and young people when things start to escalate and threaten to overwhelm them. The Foundation has been offering flexible support to the Service since 2019. Our funds currently help them provide early help to over 125 young people aged 12 and over each year.

They step in before problems escalate, often via referrals from schools or even self-referral by the young person or their family. Their early help mentors become a listening ear for their worries and to help them navigate life’s hurdles.

The mentors work with young people on personalised plans to achieve their goals, whether it’s resolving conflicts, changing behaviours, or exploring new activities that improve their opportunities and well-being.

Critical factors in Aberlour Youthpoint Moray’s approach are:

  • Helping young people before problems escalate e.g. via schools ‘spotting the warning signs’.
  • Personalised, relationship-based support – dedicated staff and volunteer mentors provide a stable and reliable presence in the young person’s life, someone ‘just for them’.
  • Young people can take control – mentorship empowers young people to find their own solutions, fostering a sense of agency and control.

In recent years we’ve seen a big increase in referrals and our waiting lists for support grow”, explains Jennie Shade, Service Manager. “Issues such as domestic abuse, anxiety, self-harm, substance misuse, family break down and chaotic home environments intensified during Covid and haven’t abated since.”

The service understands the importance of family involvement. Staff working with parents, carers, and siblings strengthens the support network and helps everyone work towards the young person’s goals.

We see great benefits working with the whole family,” says Jennie. “The goals our young people are working towards can’t be achieved unless we have their parents, carers and siblings onboard, too.”

The Early Help Service prevents issues reaching a crisis point, enabling young people to gain and retain control of their lives.

Abelour Children’s’ Charity AbJam event


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