In 2006, our Church identified the need for a dedicated youth worker based in Larbert High School. Because of the size of the school's catchment area and the size of the task, we shared the idea with other churches in the area. This led to eight of the churches agreeing to work in partnership. Together we approached Scripture Union Scotland to explore their Associate Worker Scheme. Larbert Churches Youth Trust was formed with SU providing training, payroll and line-management. They also have a network of similar Schools Worker schemes as their part of the partnership with the local churches.
Larbert High has been very supportive of the initiative, and provides an office for the Worker in the school. The Schools Worker is the chair of the school’s chaplaincy team. The seven associate primary schools are also very supportive of the scheme, along with Carrongrange School for young people with special needs.
Our first Schools Worker, appointed in 2010 was Gordon McKie. Gordon took up a similar post in Glasgow in 2012 and the role has now been filled by Mike Glass.
Mike was joined by part time Schools Worker, Jack Thomson in October 2014.
Initiatives developed as part of the project include a ‘Drop in’ at the youth worker’s office to support vulnerable young people, assisting Primary 7’s in their transition to secondary school, assisting at the school breakfast club, running SU groups, SU activity weekends away, and generally fostering positive relationships between the schools and local churches.
Most of the funding comes from local individual Christians and Christian groups, as well as grant applications (e.g. Church of Scotland Go For It Fund). Local churches offer prayer support, volunteers, and time from their staff members.
The key to the project's success is in offering something that is genuinely of real benefit to the local schools and in building relationships with pupils and school staff.