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Hundreds of young people join volunteering programme

More than 500 unemployed young people have already benefited from the impact of the Commonwealth Games thanks to a new volunteering and employability programme.

Scotland’s Best – backed by £2.4 million from the Scottish Government’s Legacy 2014 Young Person’s Fund – is promising to offer 1,000 young people a chance to take part in the programme by 2015.

The announcement comes as Scotland celebrates Legacy Week (24-28 February) with less than 150 days to go until the Commonwealth Games arrive in Glasgow.

The week – a partnership between the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow 2014 – focuses on the legacy the Commonwealth Games will leave behind.

Scotland’s Best is a Legacy programme administered by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) that gives many of the recruits the chance to volunteer at sporting and cultural events across the country.

Participants of the programme not only gain valuable employability skills and work experience, but receive a qualification at SCQF level 4.

Commonwealth Games and Sport Minister, Shona Robison said:

“Volunteers make a major contribution to our society and there’s no better time to get involved than 2014. Scotland has a rich tradition of volunteering – it’s a hugely rewarding way to get more involved in your local community and to change lives.

“Scotland’s Best Legacy programme offers support to young people aged 16 to 24 across Scotland, allowing them to gain valuable skills and experience to help them on the first steps towards employment.  One such project took place earlier in Edinburgh during Legacy Week, with youngsters working hard at Gorgie City Farm, making a valuable contribution to the upkeep of this family-friendly community resource.

“As well as providing a rewarding personal experience, these skills will make a positive imprint on their future and create a lasting legacy from the Games.”

Catherine Thomas, SDS’s Commonwealth Games Legacy Manager, said: “I can think of no better legacy for the Commonwealth Games than helping young people take that vital first step into the workplace and giving them skills that will last beyond the Games.

“We are half way to reaching our goal of providing 1,000 young people with a volunteering opportunity.

“Scotland’s Best is just one of the employability programmes SDS supports and offers the perfect combination of training and volunteering.”

A group of Scotland’s Best participants took part in a programme delivered by The Princes Trust in partnership with Heart of Midlothian FC which saw them volunteer at Gorgie City Farm in Edinburgh.

Gail Vencker from Gorgie City Farm said: “We were so impressed at the amount of work the group got done as well as their enthusiasm despite some difficult and cold weather conditions.

“We really rely on teams of volunteers to crack on with big tasks of this nature and we can’t thank them enough.”

A young person who took part in the programme added: “To work on a project so close to home was fun, and to know that others from the community will benefit from all our hard work makes us feel proud.

“We also started on a second project on the pond and we are keen to go back to help finish it.”

Find out more about Scotland's Best