#keepthepromise – CrossReach’s commitment to young people

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"We believe our children and young people deserve to be included and be part of their local communities."

A new chapter has begun in CrossReach’s long-established care and education for young people. The recent closure of Ballikinrain Residential School, north of Glasgow, marks the final step in a seven-year transition towards family-style living in local communities.

With the opening in 2021 of two new houses in Strathblane and Port Glasgow, the last young people to live in Ballikinrain have moved into smaller family homes as part of a strategic plan agreed in 2013.

CrossReach, the operating name for the Social Care Council of The Church of Scotland, has provided residential care and education for young people for over 50 years. During most of that time, care has centred on large, residential school campuses, with Ballikinrain opening its own doors in 1968. Each of the campuses has provided a nurturing environment over the years. Accommodation has evolved to support many generations of children to heal, grow and succeed, and the new family home model is a key demonstration of the organisation’s wholehearted commitment to The Promise, the findings from the Independent Care Review.

“Everything we do is about creating positive and meaningful relationships”, says Paul Gilroy, Head of Service for Children and Families. “We believe our children and young people deserve to be included and be part of their local communities – so, for many years we’ve been evolving the ways we can best offer our core support.

“This final move from maintaining large, often quite remote, residential schools to smaller, family-style residences in local communities really does play to the strengths and aspirations we’ve always had as an organisation. It’s all about young people realising their full potential.”

CrossReach currently supports up to 26 children and young people in seven small therapeutic community houses in central and west Scotland, as well as providing 36 education places at its school campus in Erskine.

CEO Viv Dickenson said, “I’m delighted that our vital work with looked after children and their families has reached this significant milestone. Many former pupils have told us that the support they have had from CrossReach has had a life-changing impact on them, giving them opportunities which they would not otherwise have had.  I am delighted that our work in this area continues and that we now have the appropriate accommodation in place to allow today’s youngsters to feel part of the communities where they live, and where they will be surrounded by the love and support they need to prepare them for later life.”

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