The BREAKTHROUGH Dundee mentoring project has the potential to “transform” the lives of the more than 500 young people who will become involved, according to Councillor John Alexander, the SNP administration leader of Dundee City Council.
Launched on Tuesday night by DC Thomson and the Northwood Trust, with support from Dundee City Council, Mr Alexander told The Courier: “We are acutely aware of the issues that young people in care experience suffer and we’ve tried to look at a number of initiatives to try and challenge some of the negative issues that surround that.
“Working with DC Thomson what we’ve managed to pull together is this really ambitious, aspirational project that will hopefully challenge and improve the lives of 500-plus individuals in Dundee.
“So our involvement has been working in tandem with DC Thomson to bring this together, but also in really identifying those individuals who are going to benefit the most from this.”
BREAKTHROUGH Dundee is a £1 million Dundee mentoring scheme which is being developed to boost the life chances of secondary-aged young people who are vulnerable or have experienced care.
Mr Alexander said if you look at the statistics that sit behind those with care experience in the city, there’s a “whole myriad of people” that come under that heading – and some people don’t necessarily need support. They will find their own way through and succeed and go on to better things.
But there are a subset of individuals who will need that support and really need some transformational intervention.
“That’s what this project is about,” he added. “It’s about getting in there early, it’s having 1:1 support and mentoring, it’s identifying what their needs are, identifying what support they require, and supporting them throughout the process – not just touching base one or two times, but seeing it through and making sure they go on to realise their potential, because these 500 kids have the potential to do anything.
“They could be the next First Minister, or as we were hearing earlier on, the potential to be an astronaut.
“It’s really just about using that energy with the support of the council, with the support of Northwood Trust and DC Thomson, to really embolden those young people and make a difference.”
Dundee is “on the up” – there’s no doubt about it, and the likes of the V&A are “important bricks and mortar projects”, he added, which will transform the city and will have a net benefit to the citizens of the city in terms of employability skills, opportunities and bringing in revenue.
But more than that, these projects are linked to bringing opportunities for young people.
“It’s initiatives like this that will really make the difference for those young people,” he added.
“We need to be doing multiple things to ensure this city stands the test of time and capitalises on the energy and the enthusiasm. This project can only boost that and support that and help with what we are trying to aspire to in the city.”
For more information go to www.breakthroughdundee.co.uk