A Church of Scotland backed charity is working hard to help young people realise their potential and avoid getting involved in crime.
A 2005 study by the Scottish Government estimated that 43% of all crime in Scotland was attributable to people under the age of twenty-one. Crime is one of the ways we measure deprivation and one charity, with its roots in church youth work, is working hard to help young people realise their potential and avoid getting into trouble with the law.
The GKexperience was the brainchild of Alex Bauer, who was at the time a Youth Worker in Linwood Parish Church. Through her experience there, and also in Milton in the North of Glasgow, she came to recognise that many of the young people she worked with were excluded from some of the experiences most likely to impact their lives and choices. With the support of the Church of Scotland she set up the GKexperience and has spent the last decade working on a variety of approaches which offer real choices to some of the most disadvantaged young people in Scotland.
One of the GKexperience’s service users, Paul Liddle, said: 'If I hadn’t encountered GK I’d probably see myself still being in trouble, definitely unemployed, possibly having been in and out of jail.'
A core part of the group’s work is providing residential experiences which model community living and help to develop positive, respectful relationships. They use the arts, cookery, development of life skills, and issue-based working, as well as exciting outdoor activities to engage with the young people. Through offering long term, relational youth work the GKexperence has shown how supportive relationships can have a deeply profound impact on young people and their expectations and ambitions.
If you want to know more about this innovative and inspiring work check out the GKexperience website.