Dunbar Area Christian Youth Project


Annual Report for 2015-16


          During this past year DACYP has celebrated its 10th year since its formation. It has given us an opportunity to reflect upon all that has happened over the 10 years – the opportunities, the relationships, the uplifting moments, the challenges, seeing young people mature and develop, seeing volunteers of all ages engaging with young people – one could wax lyrical! We have much to be thankful for and ranking high are all our supporters and funders. We continue to be grateful for your wide ranging support. 


            The report for the past year looks at how we have met the Objectives which we set a year ago. Thus, each set of Objectives comes first (in italics) followed by the report for that area of work.




  • Continue to strengthen the positive contribution being made by the Project within the schools. In addition to the ongoing work in assisting in the delivery of the RME curriculum and in supporting young people:


  • Primary School: Review the services offered by DACYP with the head teacher on an annual basis. Research the possibility of offering a drop-in ‘listening space’ as suggested by the head teacher. Further discuss working in cooperation with the school on the development of a Homework Club for youngsters who lack parental support.

  • Grammar School: Re-open channels of communication with Dunbar Grammar School. Identify key members of staff and discuss how DACYP and the chaplaincy team might be able to serve the school in areas of Religious & Moral Education (RME), Religious Observance and pastoral support.

  • Mentoring: Further develop the Junior Rotary Community Leader Award to use it as a vehicle to help address identified individual needs. Encourage new mentors to join the experienced team. Assess the training needs of mentors and meet these appropriately.

  • Seasons for Growth: Continue the cycle of groups offered in the primary school and expand the number of groups available in the Grammar. Ensure that companions refresh their training and offer the opportunity for them to meet together intermittently. Assess the need to train more companions and budget appropriately.

  • S.U. Groups: Encourage older pupils to take some responsibility for running the group at the Grammar school. Build upon the model started at Innerwick by looking at a similar pilot in West Barns. Encourage volunteer support from the local churches. Review and explore ways in which we can nurture and disciple young people in their faith.

    Report on schools work:


Primary School: The work in schools has matured over the years with various strands such as Mentoring, Seasons for Growth and the Big Questions series with Primary 7 now well established.


We reviewed the services DACYP offers with the head teacher and found her extremely supportive of the work our youth worker and volunteers do in the school. Some of her comments included: ‘The mentoring programme is fantastic. I can’t praise it highly enough.’ She said that The Big Questions series within the RME programme ‘educates the children to think about faith and allows them to have open conversations.’


During the second year of running the Rotary Junior Community Leader Award scheme with the Primary 7 Mentoring group, it has been adapted to suit the needs of the group. Increased focus is being given to the process of Transition to the Grammar school for this vulnerable group. Identifying potential mentors is an ongoing process and we hope to offer an opportunity to participate in a taster session. We have been mindful of the training needs of mentors when planning recent Youth Leaders’ Forums which have covered challenging behaviour and related topics.


We now have six trained volunteers for The Seasons for Growth programme which has served some 30 young people who have experienced loss or trauma with some comments being ' It helped me talk about my problems'; 'It helped me learn how to deal with my loss';' Seasons for Growth really helped me with the death of my Gran'; 'The most important thing I learnt is that it is okay to be sad'; 'It helped me because there was other people going through the same as me'.


The S.U. group in the primary school has had an attendance of 15-20 children most of whom have no church connection.  We decided to aim the Grammar School group at S1-3 and have had a faithful small group of 4-6 attending. An initial 'pop-up' group in Innerwick, a rural school, has become established on a weekly basis with the help of the local minister and volunteers.  


Both the youth worker and local clergy continue to be invited to participate in school assemblies and the youth worker maintains relationships with support and guidance staff. The Chaplaincy team at the Grammar School has not been functioning in the recent past partly due to lack of engagement by key members of staff at the school.




  • Work alongside local churches in engaging with young people in the local community:


  • Young people’s work based in Methodist Church Hall: DACYP to take on overall responsibility for this work from the Methodist church. It will be run by a steering group with representatives of interested local churches. Under the new banner, ‘Harbour Lights’, run two clubs weekly during term-time– one for primary age and one for P.7 – S.3. Secure funding. Recruit a strong team of volunteers under good leadership.

  • Youth Forums - Aim for one to two forums in the next year which are relevant to the training needs of our volunteers.

  • Youth work within local churches: Maintain channels of communication with church leaders. Be open to opportunities for the youth worker to be involved intermittently as a ‘catalyst’ in the youth work of local churches.


  • Further develop summer activities and follow-up.


  • Review priorities for our youth worker’s time to enable him to take forward a programme with S.1-3 in the summer and throughout the year.

    Report on work in the Community

    Harbour LightsTaking on responsibility and leading the development of the young people's work in the Methodist church hall has been an exciting, if slightly daunting, unexpected opportunity. It allowed a re-think about structures and what we are hoping to achieve. A Steering group with representatives from four local churches has met regularly. Adequate initial funding has been secured. Two groups are now running with the one for primary kids well attended (~15-20 each week) and the young teenagers group slowly building (~2-9 each week). The younger group has become more structured and much calmer as they previously struggled to cope with the wide age range involved. The committed team has been able to offer crafts, games, healthy snacks and some Christian input in a creative way. One of the leaders for this team is moving on and we need to ensure that there are sufficient leaders and helpers in place to work alongside the youth worker. We are delighted to have a strong team in place for the new group for young teenagers who have a real interest in taking this forward. The teenage group is drawing some young lads who come from very difficult backgrounds and thus finding the right formula to engage with them and serve their needs is challenging.

    Youth Leaders Forums We had two forums during the past year using a speaker who delivered two excellent sessions on the background and how to deal with behavioural problems in looked after children which could apply to many of the youngsters with whom we work. Feedback from those who attended was very positive.

    Youth Work within local churches there have been fewer opportunities during the past year for our youth worker to engage directly with church youth work.  He was invited to work with a local church Girl Guide group producing a Vox pop about what they thought of Christmas.

    Summer Activities Alongside another successful Holiday Club for over 70 primary age children, we ran an evening activity for young teenagers. A good team of leaders came on board. This attracted a small group of youngsters and evolved into a pilot for the ongoing Harbour Lights Extra.



  • Encourage wider ownership of the work amongst the local Christian community


  • Continue to produce three newsletters each year.

  • Develop the recently created website and learn to use effectively.

  • Invite the local community to an event celebrating the 10th Anniversary of DACYP

    Report on Engaging with the local Christian community Three newsletters have been produced through the year with an additional 10th Anniversary edition for the ecumenical service in January. Learning to use the website effectively has proved to be a slow process due to the time needed to be set aside by an already busy youth worker. The 10th Anniversary has been celebrated through the year with a special logo, a presentation at the ecumenical service and a special newsletter. An evening event is being held in June during Civic week when we hope many people from the local community will attend.



  • Develop management of DACYP both practically in the various areas of work and in looking after our employee and volunteers


    • Be mindful of the demands upon our youth worker by keeping this as an agenda topic at each management meeting.

    • Encourage members of the management committee and other volunteers to share responsibility for various areas of administration and organization

    • Ensure all volunteers are disclosed through the PVG scheme and that they feel well supported and equipped for the work they are doing by appointing a volunteers’ coordinator.


Report on the Management of DACYP


We have found it helpful to be mindful of the workload of our youth worker by keeping it as an agenda topic at each management meeting. We discuss his plans and demands upon his time for the coming months. He states that he now feels more comfortable saying ‘No’ to requests if he really does not have the time.


In setting up the Harbour Lights groups we specifically asked volunteers to take on administrative roles. We more actively encourage this in preparation for all the activities we run thus not expecting the youth worker to provide all the administration.


A spreadsheet of all volunteers and their PVG status has been developed. It is now much easier to ensure that all volunteers have a current certificate. This system is currently run by the chair of the management committee as no one else has offered to take it on.




            This report highlights the breadth of the work for which DACYP has responsibility and the huge progress which has been made within the past year in re-launching and establishing the Harbour Lights youth groups. It does not adequately demonstrate the many relationships with young people (and their families) which have been developed over the years by the youth worker and our volunteers. On a superficial level the youth worker knows, and is known, by almost every youngster who has gone through the upper primary and grammar school over the past 10 years. On a deeper level, the youth worker and volunteers have worked with well over 100 young folks in the various groups - just in the past year! These established relationships come into play at a time of crisis whether it be difficulties at school, bereavement or other trauma. We are privileged to serve these young folks and their families.


Dorothy Wildgoose