Youth-run cafe has helped teen ‘to be a good person again’

The Scran Academy has been helping youngsters overcome poverty-related challenges.

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An Edinburgh charity has helped a 13-year-old boy “be a good person again” by giving him and others hope.

For the last four years the Scran Academy has been helping youngsters overcome poverty-related challenges including mental health, hunger, school exclusion, homelessness and family breakdown with its work-based community school.

They’ve now launched their latest venture – a cafe run by young people making sure NHS frontline staff can have a hot meal and drink.

Paul McIntyre is one of the youngest members of the Scran Academy and is a part of the cafe team.

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He said: “I have a lot of anxieties – they’ve helped me through that.

“I’m not really good at school, they’ve helped me get back on track and be a good person again.”

As well as helping youngsters with their confidence and mental health, the charity has also played a crucial role responding to the different needs of the community caused by the pandemic.

At the start of lockdown last year, the team made and delivered meals to those who were at risk of going hungry when other services closed down.

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They also ran a series of outdoor walks to help youngsters with their mental health during the winter lockdown.

Kimberly Kirk has been with Scran Academy for two years helping make meals for those in need and has taken part in their mental health walks.

She said: “At the start I was very, very nervous. I didn’t get along with a lot of people because I didn’t want to put myself out there, but now my confidence has come through and I can talk to a lot more people.”

Scran Academy has given their members the chance to access education, skills and training and complete their qualifications.

Jodie Andrews has been a regular on the Scran Van which has been going into communities and delivering food.

She said: “I’ve done my qualifications and CV with Scran.

“When you’re here, you’re more free and not being treated liked a child.”

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The Scran Cafe marks the next step in Scran Academy’s mission to help youngsters overcome poverty-related challenges by creating employment opportunities through their new Scransitions programme.

The programme has received £300,000 of funding from the National Lottery Fund’s Young Start Project, the Edinburgh Thrive Initiative and the Walter Scott Giving Group.

The cafe is currently serving hot food and drinks to frontline NHS worker, with every order served with a smile and a friendly chat.

Founder of Scran Academy, John Loughton BEM, said: “At Scran we do hand-ups, not just hand-outs.

“We must all respond and adapt to what is an oncoming crisis for today’s generation that has resulted from education systems failures, a bleak employment context and the rising grip of poverty and mental health.

“It’s brutal for young people and our work has never been more needed.

“What Scran’s story shows is that if we support local community organisations that are run with passion and authenticity, we can develop creative solutions to social inequality.

“It also shows that unlike the stereotypes so often in the media, young people make a real and positive contribution to society and your postcode does not have to be your destiny.”