Berwickshire CAB earns recognition in parliament

Berwickshire CAB Chair George Russell, Jim Hume MSP, Youth Adviser Annette McGraith, Youth Adviser Sophie Wild and Duns CAB Manager Rhona Calder
Berwickshire CAB Chair George Russell, Jim Hume MSP, Youth Adviser Annette McGraith, Youth Adviser Sophie Wild and Duns CAB Manager Rhona Calder

The Roxburgh and Berwickshire CAB has been singled out for praise in the Scottish Parliament for ‘excellent and innovative’ work.

Local MSP Jim Hume persuaded Parliament to set aside time for a special debate to highlight the CAB’s award-winning YouthInfo@CAB project, which has helped hundreds of 16-25 year-olds across Berwickshire since it was established four years ago.

The project’s senior youth development worker, Annette McGrath was at Parliament to watch the debate, along with a number of young people from the project.

She said: “We are very proud of the work we did in this project, and I’m so pleased it is getting national recognition. That is a real tribute to the people involved in the work.

“Many young people in the Borders are really struggling in the current economy. They’re finding it hard to get decent jobs, or homes. Many are getting into huge debts with payday lenders, and the benefits system really doesn’t support them properly.

“Now the Prime Minister is talking about cutting their benefits even more. That will be simply devastating to many of the young people we know.

“Of course people of all ages are struggling, and the CAB is here to help everyone. But those under 25 face particular pressures, and that’s why we wanted to reach out to them and give them all the support they needed to survive in today’s tough world. That’s what this scheme is.

“It’s all about empowering young people, and giving them the confidence to stand up for themselves. So we go out to them, to the schools, colleges and youth clubs, and talk to them about practical things like how to manage a weekly budget, how to avoid debt, how to manage a lease or a mortgage, and what rights they have at work.”

There are a number of other youth outreach projects around, but what is unique about this one is that it doesn’t just offer advice, but actually encourages young people to get involved in its work.

Annette continued: “Our message to young people in the Borders is that this project is for you. We give free, independent, confidential advice on any issue that is troubling you, and we also want you to get involved in the project and help run it, to make sure it remains focused on the real needs of young people today. Volunteering with us is a great way to gain skills and experience to enhance your CV.”

For more info phone 07508 331 513 or visit www.onlineborders/community/bycab.