A charity founded by double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes has today announced its services are to be rolled out within Scotland, thanks to the support of players of People's Postcode Lottery.
The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which launched in 2008, brings together young people not in employment or education to be mentored by elite athletes. The motivation and levels of focus that an athlete has inspires those participating to improve their current situation, and gives them the support they need to make new choices. Participants in the programme use the relationship to improve social skills, build confidence, develop practical skills like CV writing and job applications, as well as gain a new-found support network.
The Get on Track programme, which has already been successful in parts of England, will launch in Edinburgh in early 2015 with city Judo Champion Sarah Clark set to mentor those taking part.
Dame Kelly Holmes said, "It is thanks to players that we will be able to launch our fantastic project in Scotland. The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust is committed to providing mentoring support to young people who have been left behind, and this is when the impact of an athlete like Olympian Sarah Clark can be so inspiring. My charity's athletes use their unique skills to help young people make positive changes in their lives. I'm delighted we're able to make a difference in Edinburgh."
Judo champion and Edinburgh resident Sarah Clark will mentor the young people (16 to 25) to get them into employment, education or training, as well as motivating them to lead healthier lifestyles and take part in sport on a regular basis.
Sarah Clark said, "I was honoured to be asked to be a mentor in the new project kicking off in Edinburgh. To succeed in sports, you need a wide range of life skills, such as self-esteem, confidence, team work and the ability to pick yourself up when you fall. By working with the young people involved in the project, I hope to instill these skills in them and help them reach their individual goals."
The project has received £175,000 in funding from the players of People's Postcode Lottery, which raises funds for good causes across Great Britain and globally. Support from players will allow the project to launch in Scotland by early summer 2015. To date, players have raised £58.6 Million for charities and good causes.
Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said, "I'm delighted that Kelly Holmes has decided to expand her Trust to Scotland. Using sport to reach out to young people who feel demotivated and disconnected is a great idea. It can reap tremendous dividends, not just for the people involved, but for society as a whole."
Dame Kelly Holmes will be speaking at People's Postcode Lottery's annual charity gala on 28 January at Mansfield Traquair in Edinburgh. The event provides an opportunity for charities and good causes supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery to mark the incredible work the funding has supported.