In January 2018 the David Doig Foundation awarded its first tranche of grant funding to 6 worthy causes throughout Scotland in its quest to uplift, inspire and encourage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds - to enable them to access education, skills training and mentoring to build aspirations and confidence, leading to new hopes and opportunities. The supported projects resonated strongly with David’s own story, passions and values, and are as follows:
The Denis Law Legacy Trust provides a number of outreach projects to children and young people living in and around the Aberdeen area – particularly those with high rates of youth offending and anti-social behaviour. Funding from The David Doig Foundation will support the Trust’s Positive Destinations employability initiative, targeting young people aged 16 to 19 in deprived areas of Aberdeen. This two year programme, works with young people at risk of becoming a NEET, preparing them for entering employment. It helps them gain basic skills and qualifications in areas such as first aid, child protection, IT and driving. They will also gain confidence and leadership skills through experience in sports coaching. And with one to one support, identify their desired career path from which a tailored development programme to realise this will then be put in place.
Mayfield and Easthouses Youth 2000 Project (Y2K), based in Midlothian, aims to reduce anti-social behaviour and promote opportunities for young people aged from 11 to 21. Mayfield & Easthouses are considered to be in the top 15% of the most deprived communities in Scotland according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, 2016. School attainment levels are below the national average with 35% of local people aged 16+ having no qualifications. The David Doig Foundation award will support the cost of 3 sessional workers to enable them to extend provision of their “InvolveU” drop-in service. The InvolveU drop-ins offers young people (aged 10-18) a free activity at a time when there are no other youth provisions open. Drop-in activities include fun arts and crafts and music sessions, as well as issue-based workshops. Engaging the young people effectively connects and sustains typically ‘hard to reach’ young people within the wider Y2K services.
Positive Help provides support to individuals and families affected by HIV and/or Hepatitis C within Edinburgh and the Lothians. The David Doig Foundation awarded a grant to support the continuation of the Study Buddies programme. As a result of their family member’s condition, many children and young people are carers, spend periods in care and are likely to witness substance abuse. Consequently, many do not receive sufficient learning support at home – with parents often also having few or no qualifications. The scheme matches young people with suitable mentors, engaging them in a safe environment outside the home to support their learning. The mentors also provide emotional support, advice on healthy eating/lifestyles and work with them to identify potential career/higher education pathways.
The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick provides conservation and education about Scotland’s coastal ecosystems. Funding from The David Doig Foundation will support the delivery of their Seaside School education programme, in identified areas of deprivation, specifically in areas classed within the worst 25% of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. Surveys show only 10% of young people engage with “the wild” regularly now, compared to 40% 30-40 years ago. The Seaside School programme provides children an opportunity to learn about the local ecosystem, food chains and the wildlife around them, as well as how green energy and sustainable lifestyles can help conservation. The programme expects 3,000 pupils across 31 primary and secondary schools to benefit.
Sustainable Communities Initiatives (SCI) works with people of all ages promoting social and environmental sustainability and resilience. The David Doig Foundation is supporting the delivery of “Natural Connections”, a 12 month programme for 8 to 12 year old children who are struggling at school. This project will bring together the skills of an experienced outdoor educator who draws inspiration from indigenous cultures and animals, and children who will benefit from having some individual attention, small group-work experience and the chance to feel more confident, raise self-esteem, feel more able to communicate their needs, feeling calmer in stressful situations, as well as being clearer about their own strengths and talents. One of the participants in the pilot group (a boy who is considered very challenging at school said whilst at the group "I don't normally want to behave, but I do today”. The children are encouraged to think about ways that they can continue the positive aspects of the experience at home and how they can share their new skills and knowledge with their family and friends.
The GK Experience aims to support and improve opportunities for vulnerable young people. The organisation offers youth drop in sessions three times a week in the most disadvantaged communities in Glasgow including Milton and Possil. Funding from the David Doig Foundation will be used to assist the organisation in continuing to run its snowboarding outdoor residential experience in Aviemore. The three day outdoor residential experience will give vulnerable young people the opportunity to build their confidence, resilience and leadership skills. It also allows them to participate in a sport that they would not normally be able to access due to the high costs. The residential experience pilot in 2017 proved very successful with 25 young people participating. Motivated by their enjoyment of the experience up to 15 individuals agreed to join the organisation’s Young Leaders Programme. The Young Leaders Programme aims to encourage these individuals to provide peer support and guidance to other young people.