A CHARITY is to take over a vital service for vulnerable young people which has been threatened with closure.

Kibble, the national charity specialising in the care of young people who have experienced trauma, today announced it will run the Interventions for Vulnerable Youth (IVY) service, until April next year.

The IVY project was set up by the University of Strathclyde's Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ) and funded by the Scottish Government’s Youth Justice team to promote best practice in forensic mental health risk assessment and management for young people, aged 12-18, who present a serious risk of harm to others.

IVY, which has the only dedicated team of its kind in the UK, has provided support for more than 220 children and young people referred by 31 Scottish local authorities during its six years of existence. 

CYCJ recently announced that IVY would close at the end of October, a decision they said they regretted but which was unavoidable, given the highly specialised nature of the service.

It has now been agreed that the IVY service will transition to Kibble on November 1 and Kibble will run the service on an interim basis until the current year’s Scottish Government funding ends on March 31 2020.

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Kibble Chief Executive Jim Gillespie said: “IVY is a perfect fit with Kibble’s vision, ethos and expertise and we are excited at the prospect of delivering, and indeed expanding, the service in partnership with the Scottish Government and Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ). 

"It is imperative that this well-respected project should continue, and I would like to thank the Scottish Government for its continued support of the service.

“All young people currently involved in the service will continue to be supported. Uncertainty over IVY’s future had led to a moratorium on referrals however I can reassure Scottish local authorities that in the near future we will again be accepting new referrals. It is absolutely vital that all young people who need the IVY service are able to access it without delay.”

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Fiona Dyer, Interim Director of the CYCJ and IVY Service Manager, said: “We are delighted that IVY will be part of Kibble’s continuum of services. This is a very positive move, and we are confident that Kibble is the best place for this highly specialised service to be as it enters the next stage of its journey.

“Dedicated work has been underway for a considerable length of time to find a suitable base that allows this valuable service to continue to meet the needs of vulnerable, marginalised and maligned young people in the hope that they can be supported to achieve better outcomes for them and those around them.

“CYCJ will continue to work closely with Kibble to ensure continuity and focused support for the young people the service is currently working with.”

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Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Children and Young People for the Scottish Government, said: “I am grateful to the staff and volunteers at Kibble for stepping up to take over the IVY project to continue to provide high quality support facilities for young people. This announcement will provide reassurance to parents, carers and local authorities that IVY’s services will continue in the short term, with Kibble’s efforts ensuring a smooth transition and uninterrupted care for the young people.

“Discussions around the future direction of the project beyond April 2020 continue and we are working closely with Kibble and CYCJ with the shared vision of prioritising the young people’s welfare.”