Young people in Moray to benefit from the launch of the re:connect partnership
COASTEERING, gorge-walking, kayaking, circus skills and film-making are just some of the activities young people in Moray can get involved in through a new youth programme called re:connect.
The re:connect partnership brings together youth work agencies, Moray Council, Police Scotland, NHS Grampian, and outdoor learning and arts organisations to reach out to the young people of Moray and support the development of activities and opportunities in their local area.
The first phase will see pop-up events in each main town in Moray, combining street work with various activities. There will be free snacks and refreshments provided by Tesco and Asda, and also some re:connect giveaways. The pop-ups offer young people the chance to speak about their ideas for recovery. As well as outdoor and arts-based activities, they may want to set up a local youth club or drop-in or get involved in the upcoming COP26 fringe events.
Moray Council’s Children, Young People and Families Manager, Fiona Herd, said: “Young people have told us that they want places to meet up with friends where they can access supports but most importantly where they can have fun and try new activities.
“Our shared vision for re:connect is our commitment to help make young people’s ideas a reality and make Moray a place where young people have a voice and where they can make a difference. It’s about harnessing their enthusiasm, skills and opinions to create opportunities with them.”
Funding for the re:connect project comes through the Youth Work Education Recovery fund distributed by Youthlink Scotland to support a youth work approach to recovery following Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions. Schools will be sent the programme of events, and it’ll be advertised via the police and the council’s social media channels.
Police Inspector Andrew Wilson, who is based in Elgin, said: “As we continue to recover from the pandemic it is important to reflect on the impact this difficult period has had on the children and young people here in Moray. We’ve engaged with and listened to them throughout this time and know that their family's health, social isolation and school closures are just some of the worries they have had to endure.
“Looking to the future with positivity, we’re delighted to be involved with the re:connect partnership which is fully energised to deliver youth participation and engagement in a range of activities that will improve the health and quality of life for all our children and young people and reduce their risk of harm.
The partnership is promoting positive lifestyle choices and helping those taking part in the wide variety of youth engagement activities to discover new talents and skills, giving them the confidence to get involved in their local communities. We’re confident that re:connect will build even greater relationships with our young people and in turn help us to keep Moray communities safe.”
Richard Lochhead MSP said: “Children and young people have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and they’ve missed out on spending time with their friends or to play sports and take part in organised events. As we move towards recovery, children’s mental health must be a priority and activities like these will not only provide young people locally with support from youth work agencies, but taking part in these group events will hugely benefit their wellbeing.
“I’m delighted to see the council, the police and the NHS working together to deliver this fantastic initiative and hope that children across Moray will enjoy taking part in re:connect.”
Douglas Ross MP said: “This is a great project for young people all over Moray. It’s really encouraging to see so many organisations and agencies come together to provide exciting activities and opportunities for young people in the area.
“For more than a year we have been living through this global pandemic and it has had a significant impact on young people here in Moray and all over the country. That’s why it is so good to see re:connect launched and I know it will have a really positive impact on those who get involved.
“Because young people have been fully engaged in the formation of the project and it’s priorities I’m sure it will be a great success.”
Brothers Charlie and Jacob Sutherland from Elgin have already taken part in sessions of 'Street Football'.
Charlie (13) said: "Street football was a lot of fun and it was great being able to play with different people and make new friends. I can't wait to play again."
Jacob (17), who is also Police Scotland Youth Volunteer, said: "I really enjoyed being able to help out in my capacity as a volunteer and after everything that has happened it was just brilliant to see so many happy young faces enjoying themselves."