by Lorraine Gillies, SCSN Chief Officer

I love April, it’s the start of so much – spring, lighter evenings and mornings, new financial year, new plans.. This April though our plans have been slightly delayed.  The introduction of new a core grant funding process by the Scottish Government has taken it’s  a toll on us and other third sector organisations. 

At time of writing (mid-April) the SCSN still hasn’t had confirmation of our grant award and has just completed version 3 of our new application documents.  It’s been frustrating for us and for our civil service colleagues as we work together to find a way to better evidence the work that we do and assure the Scottish pubic that funding us is money well spent.  It’s delayed the beginning of our strategic plan development and taken up significant officer time. 

While it’s understood that our transactions must be transparent and we must evidence our worth, it’s been difficult jump into new systems at such a crucial time for us.   There is so much expertise in the sector about evidence, outcomes based planning, monitoring and evaluating, it’s disappointing to seeing an increased ask in terms of numerical outputs. C’est la vie though – we will get there!  Hopefully using this terrific resource – developed by the Scottish Government Third Sector Unit, Evaluation Support Scotland and a bunch of third sector leaders (including us).

On the plus side though we are delighted to be involved in so much partnership activity around prevention.  Some of you may have heard of the Icelandic Primary Prevention Model or Planet Youth.  I’ve been working with other stakeholders in supporting the pilot activity in Scotland

Planet Youth in Scotland is a community partnership approach, led by Winning Scotland, that will help us learn more about what is needed to keep our young people safe, healthy and happy.
 Planet Youth originated in Iceland in the 1990s, and has since been used all over the world to improve the lives of children.
In Iceland, Planet Youth instigated a huge drop in teenage drinking and smoking, increased physical activity levels and supported families to spend more time together – leading to young people in Iceland being labelled ‘the cleanest living teens in Europe’.
The programme involves running surveys with secondary school pupils to take a snapshot of teenage life in their local area. The surveys are confidential and ask the pupils about their school and home life and how they spend their free time – including whether they use drugs and alcohol. The surveys also ask pupils about activities they would like to do at school or in their local area.

Local groups and services then work together to address the needs and issues raised by the pupils in the surveys.
​By listening to local children about how they spend their time, the issues they face and what they are interested in, we believe Planet Youth in Scotland can help us learn how to help all young people in Scotland to become ambitious, versatile and resilient.

I’m  heading to Rome in May with a bunch of interested people involved in prevention in Scotland for the international Planet Youth conference.  I’ll have lots of exciting things for our members to learn from so watch out for that.

That’s it for this month.. Thanks for reading.