Cashback for Communities: A Festive Update

Young people stand aboard Alba Venturer holding a white flag with the yellow 'Cashback for Communities' logo.

2023 marks our 9th year as partners of Cashback for Communities, an innovative Scottish Government programme which reinvests criminal assets recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and invests in projects delivering positive futures for our young people.

This programme has allowed us to work with hundreds of young people from across Scotland. Look back with us over the highlights of 2023, and all the achievements these young people have made…  

The Sailing Season in Summary

Year one of our On Board with Cashback programme has engaged a total of 51 young people from 6 different groups. These young people were identified for the programme based on their likelihood of experiencing poorer outcomes due to their circumstances. 

Our On Board with Cashback programme includes nine youth work sessions and one five-day voyage. These sessions cover a range of subjects including the UNCRC, Effective Communication, Giving Back to the Community and Roles in a Team. 

Debbie Muir, a Youth Programme Development Officer at Millennium Centre Youth, was one of the Group Leaders involved. She said: “The programme has been life changing for our young people.” 

“The group have gained so much more confidence, trying new foods, developing life skills whist learning to cook and clean and, in the young people’s own words, ‘putting themselves out there more to try new things’.”

A central part of On Board with Cashback is the youth work voyage that each group takes part in. This five-day experience tests young people’s communication skills, as well as their resilience, problem solving and teamwork.

Rashid was one of the young people who took part this year. He said, “I had a fabulous time on the trip and I enjoyed every moment.”

“Everything the staff taught me on the trip was an achievement for me. I got a lot of sailing experience during the trip, also my leadership skills and teamwork skills have been improved and I got more self-confidence after taking part in the voyage.” 

Left image: Young people go dinghy sailing on a small loch. Centre: A volunteer shows young people where they will be sailing on a map Right: A young person gives the thumbs up as he waits to abseil down a crag

Together, these 6 groups sailed a total of 599 nautical miles – reaching as far as the Holy Isle, Portavadie and Wreck Bay before returning to James Watt Dock, Greenock. 

While our 2023 sailing season has now come to an end, our work with these groups has not. Over winter, we will continue delivering land-based youth work sessions and supporting young people towards the achievement of both their SQA and RYA qualifications, as well as their John Muir Award.  

Instrumental in this project is our Senior Youth Development Worker, Gillian McDiarmid. Gillian said: “It has been a privilege to witness the transformation of these young people, from the first session of the programme to being on board, hoisting sails and helming confidently, creating goals and making plans for the future.” 

“We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of the participants from On Board with Cashback a very happy holiday period. We look forward to seeing you in 2024 to wrap up the programme.”

Skip to content