A former Tayside police officer who set up a social enterprise to bring dance and the arts to young people in areas of deprivation and rural isolation has welcomed the setting up of the £1 million Dundee mentoring scheme BREAKTHROUGH Dundee.
Fergus Storrier, the founder of Dundee-based Showcase the Street, which operates from Manhattan Works in Maryfield, said BREAKTHROUGH Dundee – which aims to boost the life chances of secondary-aged young people who are vulnerable or have experienced care – “seems a good scheme”.
However, he added: “There needs to be a realisation that these young people will go off the rails every now and then, and that’s all right because it’s going to be a long road before they get back there.
“I think that’s what’s important – just a recognition that things will go wrong and that’s alright.”
BREAKTHROUGH Dundee, which was launched last Tuesday by the Northwood CharitableTrust with support from Dc Thomson & Co Ltd and Dundee City Council, aims to provide a 1:1 mentoring programme and is designed to improve pupils’ academic performance and to support them in achieving a positive destination after they leave school.
The programme will begin in Morgan Academy this month and will be followed by a second school, St Paul’s RC Academy, in October.
It is intended that all eight of Dundee’s secondary schools would be involved in the programme by 2019, supporting up to 500 young people.
A pool of fully trained mentors is being recruited from local companies and Dundee’s wider community to be matched appropriately to the young people and to support those who sign up to take part.
Mr Storrier added: “I think looked after and people that have been in care is an area that very often is not addressed.
“I think people have tried. It’s hard. We have done some work with folk from the Morgan here as well.
“Some of the stories that they give you are horrendous. There’s no doubt about it.
“I’ve seen mentoring schemes in other areas. I think they are good. It just needs to be tight.
“There needs to be a realisation that these young people will go off the rails every now and then, and that’s all right because it’s going to be a long road before they get back there.
“BREAKTHROUGH Dundee seems a good scheme. There seems to be a lot of weight behind it which is really important.”
For more information about BREAKTHROUGH Dundee go to www.breakthroughdundee.co.uk