A GROUP of 30 schoolchildren enjoyed an action-packed summer holiday thanks to a mentoring programme which links young people with adults who can help to support them.

The MCR Foundation's Pathways scheme, set up by Glasgow-born entrepreneur Iain MacRitchie and backed by The Herald, seeks to help youngsters re-engage with school, find their way into the workplace or take up a place in further or higher education.

The project usually sees the pupils meet with mentors in a school environment, but the summer activities allowed them to engage on a more informal basis.

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Project director Donna Cunningham said: "We offered a selection of activities both physical and cultural, including abseiling, archery, canoeing, cycling, football, pony trekking, as well as visits to GOMA [Gallery of Modern Art], the People's Palace and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

"The objective was to build and nurture the young people's motivation, resilience and commitment, while at the same time encouraging them to build relationships between young people from their own school and other schools.

"It was also about getting them to try new things and maximise what's already out there on their doorstep.

"It gave them some different experiences and took them out of their comfort zone."

Organised by Glasgow City Council education ­department, MCR Pathways and Glasgow Life, the "Fun in the Sun" project offered different activities five days a week over four weeks.

It involved youngsters from six different Glasgow high schools, ranging from third year-pupils to sixth-year students.

The event culminated in a celebration at Kelvin College which saw 23 youngsters receive digital awards for commitment and motivation.

The group was also taken to Crail race track in Fife for the day thanks to a donation by Supercars Scotland.

Ms Cunningham added: "It was a fantastic day out to celebrate the youngsters and their decision to participate in the activities during their own holidays.

"They got to drive Porsches, BMWs and Lamborghinis before being given Supercar certificates - they had a ball and were delighted when they got their certificates."

She also said that at the end of the four weeks, the pupils were more confident, able to talk to other people more easily and said they had enjoyed meeting new people and trying new things.

Ms Cunningham added: "They realised that although you may be apprehensive about things, with the right support you can push yourself to try things, and the feeling of satisfaction you get when you overcome that apprehension is amazing."

The manager also claimed that the mentors benefited from the activities too.

She said: "Mentoring at the moment is very strict, they only meet the young people in school, but this gave them a chance to meet on more informal terms.

"It was a great opportunity to open that out and see a different side of each other, really nurturing the relationship.

"And it also gave the mentors a chance to meet and talk about what they're doing."

As part of the mentoring scheme, young people have already been given a taste of the opportunities offered by a university education with a summer camp at Strathclyde University.

It allowed some children to experience first-hand what further education involves and to ask questions of students and lecturers about their work.


CAN you help a young person realise their full potential?


The Herald is supporting the MCR Pathways campaign to recruit 200 new mentors for disadvantaged young people in Glasgow. If you are a motivated and committed adult, you could support these young people to overcome the barriers that mean so few currently make it to higher and further education.

An hour a week plus travelling time, a listening ear and putting a young person first are the only skills you will need. All training and support will be given.

For more information or to register interest please go to mcrpathways.org/#herald or contact Donna Cunningham at donna.cunningham@glasgow.gov.uk.

MCR Pathways is a pioneering partnership of the MCR Foundation, Glasgow City Council, University of Strathclyde and CELCIS.