Meet the finalists: Equality & Diversity

Every young person has the right to be treated fairly, respectfully and equally. They have the right to access opportunities to allow them to thrive as they grow into adulthood, without fear of judgement or exclusion. Our three finalists of the Equality and Diversity category are leading examples of how youth work creates safe spaces for young people to learn and share thoughts and opinions safely and within a positive environment.

SCOREScotland Youth Team (Edinburgh) 

Based in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, SCOREscotland (Strengthening Communities for Race Equality Scotland) delivers a range of services promoting social justice, anti-racism, inclusion and positive wellbeing. 

A vital part of the community’s Covid-19 response, SCORE has embraced digital youth work to provide inclusive, accessible, engaging support to vulnerable young people throughout the pandemic – including an online Black Lives Matter seminar to over 40 young people. 

SCORE is anchored in the community it serves, acting as a thirdparty reporting centre for members of the community who experience race hate crime, while upskilling BME communities on how to report incidents of racism. 

One young person said: “Knots and Crosses Youth Club is the only space where we meet other kids like us and face the same challenges that we do. We can share our experience of racism as we feel the youth workers understand our needs. The club feels like home now.” 

Find out more:

Interest Link Borders 

Through its commitment to a youth work approach and tailored service design, Interest Link Borders enables true and equal friendships that could never form otherwise, breaking down barriers at school and in the community. 

Its youth service supports over 100 young people annually through befriending groups, face-to-face meetings, online youth services and social activities, providing long-term support, building friendships, wellbeing, confidence, self-esteem, and communication skills. 

The opening of horizons and opportunities it provides for young people with learning disabilities is unrivalled. It helps them understand they have the same rights as everyone else to have friends, be included, happy, and develop personally. They realise they can be more independent and have aspirations about their destinations. 

Interest Link demonstrates its impact on young members and volunteers through frequent evaluations, the most recent of which found that 100% of members maintained friendships, increased happiness and developed more self-esteem. 

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Mitchell Graham (Deaf Action) 

Founded in Edinburgh in 1835, Deaf Action is the oldest constituted deaf organisation in the world, boasting over 1,200 years of collective experience to support the one million+ people in Scotland affected by hearing loss. 

After discovering his passion for volunteering and working with young people during a gap year, Mitchell had to overcome significant challenges in order to graduate, not receiving official communications support until his third year of study. With his experience, Mitchell now acts as a role model for young deaf people at the start of their education journey. 

Emily Mackenzie said: “With Mitchell’s help, I’ve learned to feel proud to be deaf. I know when to ask for help and when to expect people to make changes for me. I feel more confident about asking for extra support in school. Mitchell is helping my family and I to learn BSL together, he is a great teacher!” 

Find out more:

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