three people stand in a line in front of some greenery outdoors. From left to right: a woman with brown hair wearing a beige dress; a man with red hair wearing a yellow sports jacket; a woman with purple hair wearing a floral pinafore dress and a white t shirt. They all smile at the camera.

Sarah and Paula are two parents living in Dundee. Before the coronavirus pandemic, they ran a small youth group at a local church, which gave young people a place to come together and socialise safely. However, when lockdowns and social distancing measures were introduced, Sarah and Paula realised that the support network they’d worked hard to establish would become a thing of the past. 

Speaking to their own children and fellow parents, they quickly realised the impact the loss of this service was having. Not only were young people feeling frustrated and restless from having nowhere to go, particularly on Friday nights, but parents were also feeling anxious because they knew that even when lockdowns ended, there’d be nowhere for their kids to get together in the evening. Local business owners were also frustrated because anti-social behaviour was beginning to rise in the area. 

But Sarah and Paula had an idea. What if they could create a warm, welcoming, local space for young people to socialise and access support services? 

“Our vision was to create a space where there’s no such thing as a ‘bad kid’. We also wanted to space to be attractive, warm, and inviting." – Sarah and Paula 

Both Sarah and Paula were encouraged to apply to our Intrapreneurship Programme, delivered in partnership with What Matters To You. By participating in the programme, they were able to make key connections within the local community, and they soon formed a pivotal partnership with Kyle from the Change Centre to create the Youth Empowerment Community Team. 

Together, the team secured 17k investment to make their idea a reality.  

In its first few months, the Youth Empowerment Community Team regularly received 70 young visitors from across Dundee, many of which had personal challenges they needed help with. Thanks to Sarah and Paula, these young people now have a space to socialise safely and access support. Parents also feel less anxious knowing their kids are gathering in a safe space, and local businesses have also reported less anti-social behaviour. 

But they’re not done yet. Sarah and Paula have big plans for the future, including introducing new activities that aren’t sports-based so they can reach more young people than ever before. They’re also encouraging parents to use the daytime services offered by the Change Centre so that they too can benefit from the space. 

“At times our confidence dipped but working with other people in the community gave us the boost we needed to keep going. We realised we could do this, and that there was support available to help make it happen.” – Sarah and Paula