Media Release: Pilot project steers youngsters away from life of crime

A ILOT mentoring scheme to steer young people away from a life of crime has shown a massive social return of over £1.05 million on an investment of just under £108,000.

That’s the value put on the YMCA-run plusone mentoring scheme to the likes of the state, criminal justice system and the young people themselves – by an independent report published this week.

Peter Crory, national general secretary for the YMCA Scotland, said today (Monday) that the two new independent research reports showed the charity’s model for youth mentoring is transforming young lives.

And he called on the newly-elected SNP Government to put his organisation’s proven model of success at the heart of its early intervention programme.

The YMCA Scotland plusone pilot has run in Perth and Kinross, North Lanarkshire and Fife, for two years, helping young people aged 8-14 years-old whose behaviour was becoming a real concern.

Reasons for referral include offending, anti-social behaviour, hostile or violent behaviour, family problems, substance misuse, and poor school attendance.

The programme has been run in partnership with the local authority in the area in operates, while national partners have included the Associations of Directors of Social Work, the Violence Reduction Unit and the Scottish Government.

The two studies – commissioned from Dundee University and Haldane Associates by YMCA Scotland and believed to be the first such evaluation of youth mentoring in Scotland – monitored evidence of the work with 54 of the young people, during their initial six months of involvement with the programme.

Among the findings, the evaluation reports showed – 86 per cent of young people had significantly improved their behaviour, around 80 less crimes has been committed, and of the ten young people involved in substance misuse, nine had stopped or reduced.

And the Social Return on Investment report (SROI) showed that the mentoring resulted in a social value of £1.05 million for an investment of just under £108,000. (For a full list of outcomes, see Notes to editors).

Mr Crory said: “We now know clearly that a plusone mentor, working alongside other professionals, can be the conduit for significant changes in a young person’s life.

“The difference was amazing as young people went back to full school timetables, stopped or reduced their offending and avoided progressing into the adult justice system.

“YMCA Scotland was delighted to receive such strong, externally produced reports to show our method really does work. We’ve shown that you can bring about change in young people’s lives and at the same time, with minimal cost, save the system a lot of money.

“Now, with less money around to spend in years to come, we’re keen to talk to government and other local authorities about how to replicate our success in other areas.

He added: “Scotland’s young people deserve the support we can give them and society deserves to benefit from the change that we can bring.”


Notes to editors

Plus One mentoring programme is a community-based mentoring scheme, piloted and delivered by the YMCA in Scotland from 2009-11, in partnership with local authorities in Perth and Kinross, North Lanarkshire and Fife.

The national partners have included the Association of Directors of Social Work, the Violence Reduction Unit and the Scottish Government.

The evaluation reports have been carried out by the University of Dundee, part of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (Evaluation Report), and Haldane Associates (Social Return on Investment Report).


In total, the evaluation reports looked at 54 young people, during their initial six months of involvement with the programme. Between then the referrals had committed 104 offences and the majority had behaviour problems at home, at school or in the community.

17 had been excluded from school, 21 had poor attendance records, ten young people had problems with substance mis-use (mainly street drinking), eight were receiving treatment for mental health issues.

The reports showed that the plusone mentoring scheme achieved outstanding results in changing young people’s behaviour within six months.

For example:

* 86 per cent of young people had significantly improved their behaviour.

* 86 per cent of young people had significantly changed their attitude to offending.

* 64 per cent of young people had significantly improved relationships in their neighbourhood.

* 64 per cent of young people had significantly improved their skills, talents or positive relationships.

During involvement with the mentoring programme, the report found that:

* 28 young people with previous offences had not re-offended since being mentored

* 81 fewer offences were committed by the young people (assuming levels would have remained the same)

* Six young people have stopped being excluded or reduced levels of exclusion.

* Nine young people have stopped or reduced their substance misuse.

* 13 young people have stopped their disruptive behaviour in schools.

* Five  young people have returned to a mainstream timetable.

Christina Cran

Cran Communications

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