SiMY Community Development’s core aim is to be “a caring, listening and inclusive community, within which young people and their families can explore and develop their potential through planned and informal activity”. This organisation received a grant of £2000 from the Trust, going towards their Summer Adventure Education Programme. Back in July, the JMA Team met with Catriona Pratt, a founding member and Chair of the board at SiMY, to hear more about their work. On the day, we were also really lucky to meet some of the young people involved, just before they headed off on a walking trip to the Whangie, near Auchingillan Outdoor Centre, with Catriona’s husband Neil, another founding member of SiMY.
SiMY work specifically with those in the G4 and G21 postcode areas of Glasgow, which encompasses heavily built up spaces close to the city centre. These areas are often found to have cramped housing and a range of social problems. “Townhead is designated a ‘Go Well’ area because of the local population’s below average health and well-being. Many of the young people we work with suffer from stress-related illnesses, and several have conditions such as ADHD and Aspergers’ which require additional support.” Due to the ongoing expansion of the city, this area has seen many of its green spaces and community facilities replaced with housing.
Taking all of this into consideration, the small organisation constantly look for ways to involve these young people, as well as their families, in both the planning and running of activities. This really encourages them to “take responsibility for their own wellbeing, the choices they make, and the communities of which they are a part.” Their current programme focusses on Creative Arts, Community Engagement and Adventure Education.
They hope that the young people involved can explore and develop their potential through these adventurous, constructive and relational activities. This programme is based on research into the benefits for physical and mental health, which accrue from spending time in green places. It offers a range of activities to encourage people to spend time outdoors. To summarise this, SiMY’s 4 core aims are identified below. You can also read loads more about the organisation at their website here!
“We offer adventurous learning that provides challenging experiences with an uncertain outcome.”
“We seek to stimulate self-reflection to help turn experience into learning.”
“We offer constructive support that helps to make sense of failure and celebrates success.”
“We provide opportunities for service to encourage compassion and make connections between various parts of the community.”
SiMY have 96 regular attendees, ranging from 8 to 18 years old. Catriona told us all about their activities that are ongoing throughout the year, including Climbing Clubs, Dance Clubs, lessons in a music studio, and loads more. “Because there isn’t a particular place for us to use, we’re taking all the help we can from local businesses, the colleges and universities, and the businesses at the top of town that have things the kids would be interested in. The good thing about that as well is that if they have got a particular interest in it, they’re getting to meet these people who are working in jobs that they’d actually like to have some day, which is a great added bonus. We work with some fantastic organisations, and have partnered up, to help deliver different parts of the programme.” We particularly loved the sound of their Tuesday night group called Get Stuff Done, which welcomes all local young people “interested in making a difference, seeing change, planning events or just coming together to look at social issues.”
The grant received was used to pay for their Summer Programme. Catriona explained, “…most of these activities are inaccessible to young people in these areas due to the high cost of kit, hiring of an instructor, travel and entrance to facilities when developing the skills to allow membership. The young people took part on community budgeting activity to receive the outdoor equipment to enable these activities.” Their funding covered travel costs associated with each activity and appropriately qualified instructors. See the leaflet below for all the details of the great activities arranged throughout the summer!
We were super happy to hear that the Summer Programme went really well! Thankyou to Catriona and Neil, and the rest of your team, for all of the hard work you’ve put in! It must take loads of energy and commitment to run an organisation like SiMY. But it is so clear to see that the young people had some incredible experiences, and tonnes of fun! Slide through the photo gallery below to see more of their adventures.
If you’re interested and want to know more, you can check out SiMY’s Website here: www.simycommunitydevelopment.co.uk
Or their Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/SiMYCommunityDevelopment