In 2017, Young Scot began work on ‘The Attainment Challenge:
National Strategic Partnership’ with Scottish Government,
alongside three local authorities, Transport Scotland and the Scottish
Government’s Improvement Service.
This ground-breaking programme of work project builds on the
successful outcomes of Renfrewshire’s Youth Services Model – which
used the Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) to
provide free travel entitlements for young jobseekers and care leavers.
Following on from the success of Renfrewshire’s pilot, we wanted to
explore if the smart-enabled Young Scot NEC could be used in other
innovative ways to improve the health and wellbeing of young people
facing inequalities and barriers to attainment. The programme also
supports wider strategic ambitions of reducing the cost of living for
families at risk of poverty, therefore linking closely to local
efforts to tackle child poverty under the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act
2017 and local child poverty action reports.
During the first phase of the programme, we worked with North
Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and The Highland Councils. This partnership
used the Young Scot NEC to provide local entitlements to young people
who are facing significant barriers to their attainment.
The entitlements included local information, travel tickets, weekend
and holiday food provision, access to leisure and extra-curricular
activities, and help to reduce the cost of the school day. These extra
entitlements were specifically selected as they are known to improve
health and wellbeing – drivers to improving attainment, reducing
inequality and challenging rural poverty.
The Young Scot NEC and universal services were promoted locally. The
cards were also used by young people to access extra entitlements.
This approach helped to create a non-stigmatising way of supporting
Smart travel in Renfrewshire: The local authority wanted to
improve levels of engagement and participation in education,
volunteering, and wider learning activities for their most
disadvantaged young people. Using the Young Scot NEC, they offered
free transport which resulted in savings of over £10,000 on 4,400
buses journeys. During the project, 111 young people received smart
travel entitlements including 75 who received free school meals, 18
care experienced young people, eight young people living in
residential care, eight refugees and three young carers.
Stigma-free school breakfasts in North Ayrshire and Highland:
A £1.50 meal deal is offered to all young people in the local area
which can be accessed using the Young Scot NEC. The cost was removed
for young people on free school meals. During the project, 391 young
people in S1-S6 on free school meals in North Ayrshire, and 395
young people in S1-S3 on free school meals Highland received free
school breakfast. Over 6,200 breakfasts were provided in North
Ayrshire and 48% of eligible young people took up the offer in
Tackling food insecurity: Hot breakfasts, meal deals and
drinks were offered to groups of young people in Renfrewshire and
Highland – all accessed using their Young Scot NEC card as proof of
entitlement. Over £6,000 was saved by young people and their
families after school, at weekends and during the holidays. In Wick,
20 young people facing rural poverty and 20 young people on free
school meals in Paisley received out of school food entitlements.
Access to leisure memberships and sportswear: In Highland
and North Ayrshire, free leisure memberships and spending credit for
sportswear were linked to the Young Scot NEC. Over £3,000 was saved
on memberships and over £1,200 saved on sportswear. Over 140 young
people received leisure entitlements, including 70 young people on
free school meals and seven young carers.
Young Scot Rewards for extra-curricular activities; In North
Ayrshire, Young Scot Rewards were linked to after school activities
to acknowledge achievement and participation. Over 111
extra-curricular activities were completed and 16 Rewards items were
accessed by the young people including study guides, stationery
packs, HP laptops and iPads. There was a 6% increase in engagement
with Rewards in North Ayrshire as a result.
Hear from young people:
"The spending credit was good – and I got stuff for playing
basketball. The swimming was good because my friends had it too, so
I got to spend time with them" Young person, Highland
“I live in the middle of nowhere and it helps to get to places
which would have cost about £6-15 now cost me nothing so it helps a
lot”. Young person, Renfrewshire
“The breakfast is great. It is good because instead of my parents
having to spend money on breakfast, I can get it in school and they
can spend money on other things.” Young person, North Ayrshire
Our partnership with Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire and Highland has
allowed us to test and demonstrate an innovative approach to using the
Young Scot NEC to improve health and wellbeing which impacts upon attainment.
Phase Two of the programme commenced in April 2019; we are working
with North Lanarkshire, Falkirk and Dundee Councils. Each local
authority has had the opportunity to learn from the successful models
developed in Phase One of the programme and adapt these to local
needs. Implementation of entitlements in Phase Two includes:
- Falkirk Council supporting care experienced young people with
travel and leisure entitlements, as well as bespoke Rewards.
- North Lanarkshire Council providing a package of entitlements
during school holiday periods to young people in Bellshill including
free travel, leisure, food and bespoke Rewards.
- In Dundee, young people who are care experienced and young carers
have access to travel and food entitlements.
Across all six local authority partnerships - there is much to learn
and share with colleagues in communities throughout Scotland. You can
find more information about the project, including detailed case
studies, on the Young Scot
Corporate Website. If you would like to get in touch about
developing a similar programme of work in your area, please contact email@example.com.