In early 2015, Charleston Academy began a significant new partnership with Police Scotland. The school became the first and only school in the Highlands to enrol pupils in the new Police Scotland Youth Volunteers Scheme – a new uniformed youth cadet scheme similar to those successfully run by the army, navy and airforce for many years.
The Scheme itself is a partnership between Police Scotland, Young Scot and YouthLink Scotland. It’s objectives are:
- promote a practical understanding of policing amongst all young people;
- encourage the spirit of adventure and good citizenship;
- support local policing priorities through volunteering;
- give young people a chance to be heard;
- inspire young people to participate positively in their communities.
The scheme involves young people taking part in several aspects of the programme. Training sessions build confidence, encourage physical activities, deliver lessons on community safety, develop leadership skills, provide positive social experiences, and include unique police volunteering opportunities allowing participants to becoming a voice for young people.
The scheme was piloted in Ayrshire in 2013. The successful pilot was extended to include four cities in 2014 – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee. Participants worked with the police at a number of high profile national events:
- Commonwealth Games
- Edinburgh Marathon
- One Direction Concert at Murrayfield
Participants are able to receive Saltire Awards for their Volunteer Hours. Youth Achievement Awards accredit work done in local communities.
At Charleston Academy the PSYV force is coordinated by PC Alan MacLennan, our Youth Liaison Officer and Gordon Stewart, Depute Rector. As the force meets in school fortnightly, a number of adult volunteer were also sought. Seven staff assist in the coordination of the scheme, working alongside police officers.
Those in the scheme had to complete a written application and attend for formal interview. In 2015 there are 24 Police Scotland Youth Volunteer force members in Charleston Academy. The members have already participated in some community events and will take part in many others. These include the Marafun, Belledrum, the Open Golf Championship, Bonfire Night, Remembrance Day etc.
The scheme is fully funded by the Scottish Government and Police Scotland.
The Report which led to the establishment of the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers can be downloaded below.