A MUSSELBURGH-BASED charity has secured nearly £38,000 in funding from East Lothian Council to run a new service for young people who are not coping with school.

The Inclusion Support Service, which started on September 1 at the Bridges Project and will pilot for a year, will provide individually tailored support for 17 young people who have been identified by high schools.

Susan Kerr will deliver the service in her new role as a GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child) support worker, having worked with Bridges Project as a tutor for the past year and a half.

She said she was ready for the new challenge, adding: “I look forward to offering young people a targeted and flexible approach through which we can offer them more opportunities suited to their needs.”

She will work closely with Claire Hindle, the council’s principal teacher GIRFEC – a new post which has just been created.

The pair will co-operate on creating timetables for the young people and providing intensive support to enable them to progress into positive destinations.

Susan explained: “It will be a multidisciplinary way of working, where we will support young people to become more engaged and build their confidence.

“We will also give them tools which will make them more equipped for the challenges ahead and hopefully make them become more active citizens.”

The young people supported through the Inclusion Support Service will receive a mixture of one-to-one intervention and group learning.

Susan will work with them two to three times per week as an alternative to attending school.

Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, support will in the first instance take place remotely.

However, the aim is for the service to offer face-to-face support, mostly at Bridges Project’s facilities in Bogpark Road, as soon as it is safe to do so.

The support provided through the new service will be varied.

One-to-one support will focus on everything from emotional wellbeing to employability, and practical support with finances, housing and GP appointments.

There will also be a range of accredited learning on offer, such as animal care courses, the construction course Build You Up and several PlayBack ICE SCQF Level 4 qualifications, as well as social groups focusing on activities such as art, photography and cooking.

In addition, Susan will liaise with external partners who will come in and deliver groups. These include Fast Forward, Dynamic Earth, Heavy Sound and Cyrenians.

Emma Scarcliffe, Bridges Project’s acting chief executive, commented: “Bridges Project is delighted to be working in partnership with East Lothian Council to deliver this pilot project providing bespoke, individually tailored support packages to young people who are disengaged from mainstream school.

“We look forward to celebrating the successes and achievements, in the coming months, of those young people who will benefit from these support packages.”

The start of the new service also marks the end of an era as a tutor for Susan.

She will continue working with some of her clients from this role until a new person will take over the post in the near future.

Susan said: “I will actually miss all the learning I got out of it myself.

“As I had the chance to go over numeracy and literacy learning with young people, I learned as much as they did.”

She added that it would be sad to part ways with many of the young clients she worked with in the role.

She commented: “I will miss the young people, some of whom I have worked with for a long time.

“I will miss seeing their personal development.

“Nevertheless, I hope I will experience this in my new role, too.”