Our work at YouthBorders

YouthBorders takes great pride in the support and advice it gives to members and to speak on their behalf at all levels, representing their voice and the voice of young people in the Scottish Borders. Our work varies from all aspects typical of a key membership organisation from supporting the crucial work our members do to identifying cross Borders projects and self-evaluation to help build capacity and expertise in the sector. Most of all we are delighted that we are now recognised as the one stop shop for Council, NHS, National Bodies, Parliament Committees, funders and partners to speak to our sector and to promote the incredible work our members and young people do across the region.

Strategic Representation

The strategic role of YouthBorders is of key importance to our members and has grown significantly in the past 12 months. By adding value and ensuring that we are speaking as one voice on behalf of our members and young people, we have consolidated our role on many public and third sector bodies and committees, including as a key partner at the Joint Services Children and Young People’s Leadership Group. We have also played an active role in consultations and policy development at a local, regional and national level as well as built many new links and discussions with funders

Over the past year, YouthBorders has:

  • Represented the third sector on the Joint Inspection on Services for Children and Young People in the Scottish Borders meetings and focus groups, coming out as a best practice example in the Inspection Report (see our impact page)
  • Coordinated the Specialist Youth Network, feeding in their concerns around funding, mental health, transport and complex needs
  • Built up networks and opportunities for members to be involved in policy development, funding partnerships and sharing best practice
  • Worked hard on partnership work with CLD and other partners from all sectors, developing business and employability links in particular
  • Raised awareness of youth work outcomes and the need to show our value (supporting Youth Link Scotland’s national research programme to show the quantitive value of youth work)
  • Joined forces to raise awareness of the importance and key role of volunteering
  • Promoted key issues of mental health, inclusion, participation, funding and the developing complex needs and parenting strategies
  • Held talks with many national funders to speak on behalf of the sector and the needs for core generic youth work as well as project work
  • Built national and regional partnerships across the Youth Scotland network to work together on key issues of important to the sector
  • Developed greater training partnerships and opportunities to build the skills and capacity of our members

Led by

Susan Hunter

Chief Officer

01896 755110

Led by

Jemma Laidlaw

Membership Support

01896 755110


Kris Chapman

Membership Development

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Membership Support and Development

As a membership organisation this is an important part of what we do—we aim to facilitate the invaluable work youth groups do, promoting effective and best practice youth work and providing effective and bespoke support.

We provide support to our growing member youth groups through:

    • A weekly E-bulletin to members and all partners outlining news, funding opportunities, strategy decisions, resources, jobs and training
    • Membership forms and insurance, surveys and evaluation
    • Policy templates to ensure members are up to date, protected and best practice
    • Governance training and support for Boards and groups
    • PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) service, processing forms with Volunteer Scotland, offering advice and carrying out ID verifications.
    • Bespoke one-on-one meetings to assess individual member needs
    • A full training calendar, free to all members, building capacity and skills
    • Social media and Press Relations (PR). Our website has been re-designed and developed in-house to support our members. Our website now includes information on all aspects of the work we do, how we can support our members, latest news and local information through a regularly updated blog page and ‘what’s on’ page run by the young people of our members here in the Scottish Borders. Thanks to the kind sponsorship of Andrew McEwan from ’And We Do This’

Youth Music Forum - Sound Cycle

Following an extensive survey 2 years ago called Sounding Out (with the support of Creative Scotland), it was agreed that the youth music scene throughout the Scottish Borders needed to be invigorated and provide more opportunities for young people to access music and to develop an interest in music, in any form. As a result in partnership with SBC Arts Development (now LIVE Borders) YouthBorders set up a Youth Music Forum project to develop the forum idea in the Borders and to build opportunities in music for young people across the region and beyond, whether in listening, participating, performing, awareness raising, workshops, skills, jobs or just pure enjoyment. James Mackintosh the renowned musician and performer was recruited and on 12 hours a week has developed the project hugely over the past 8 months.

A brand Sound Cycle was developed and around this banner there have been training sessions, workshops, master classes and most of all opportunities to perform in the Borders (at the Sound Out Festival, Mac Arts, Borders Book Festival, Off the Record) and nationally (The Exchange in Glasgow), with over 35 opportunities in total. Most important a much needed website has been launched highlighting opportunities and events but also providing a Music Directory for the Borders (see www.soundcycle.org). Thas have also been sharing of resources around gear, PA systems and workshops around what varied opportunities there are to work in the music industry from setting up gigs to recording tracks.

As well as sharing resources and running events, for those serious about pursuing a career in music Sound Cycle collaborates with our partners and provide opportunities to visit music and music technology courses and other exciting events throughout Scotland.

The Forum has developed a key group of experts willing to offer their advice and support the project and is building up a key networking of young people as part of the Forum and Sound Cycle. If you would like to be involved please let us know.

Finally, if you have any amount of interest, be it in singing, playing, filming, teaching, recording, sound engineering, DJing, stage management, backline, sound mixing, sleeve design or anything else musical, please get involved and sign up. We will keep you posted of our planned events. Please get in touch if you have any news, pictures, demo’s, videos etc for inclusion on the site.

Led by

James Mackintosh

Youth Music Forum Coordinator

01896 755110

Led by

Johan Aitken

Project Coordinator - Stepping Stones

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Stepping Stones

The journey into early adulthood can be challenging and difficult to navigate for some young people. The move into high school years and beyond can present many challenges, especially for the most vulnerable and disengaged.

Stepping Stones is a three-year project developed by the award winning Scottish Borders’ Youth Work Partnership* and funded by the Big Lottery Improving Lives Fund. It is designed to change the way opportunities and support are offered to young people across the Scottish Borders during these important life transitions.

The partnership brings together decades of practical hands-on experience and leadership, supporting young people through these challenging life stages and this unique approach to collaborative working across the youth sector allows for greater added value through the sharing of ideas and best practice as well as budgets, resources, expertise and knowledge.

Stepping Stones aims to work with young people who will benefit most from building on their strengths, developing their skills and confidence and growing their social networks across four key areas:

  • Improving young people’s emotional health and wellbeing, leading to greater resilience
  • Increasing participation and engagement of young people
  • Equipping our young people to understand and deal with risky behaviours
  • Improving targetted services and activities through greater collaboration with new and existing partners

Initial work on the project began in September 2018 and it is hoped that over 400 young people aged between 10 and 18 years will engage in Stepping Stones over the next three years. Working in their local communities, each partner organisation will work with young people based on their needs, using one-to-one support and targeted group sessions, as well as youth group drop-ins and activities. The project will also support training, networking and cross-Border activities and be brought together with joint evaluation to add value and impact. Volunteers of all ages will support the project and will be crucial to its ongoing success.

If you would like to know more about the Stepping Stones project and how to get involved, please contact us by email: [email protected] or by phone: 01896 755 110.


* The Youth Work Partnership is a close collaboration of eight youth work charities from across the Scottish Borders: Beyond Earlston; Cheviot Youth; Connect Berwickshire Youth Project; Escape Youth Services; Rowland’s Selkirk; TD1 Youth Hub; Tweeddale Youth Action and YouthBorders.