A CHARITY founded by double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes which sees out-of-work young people mentored by elite athletes has announced it is rolling out its services in Scotland.
The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which launched in 2008, runs the Get on Track programme aiming to provide those aged 16 to 25 with self-discipline, motivation and confidence to boost their employability.
The scheme is now set to get under way in Edinburgh later this year, with judo champion Sarah Clark lined up to mentor those taking part, thanks to the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Speaking during a visit to the Capital today to announce the launch, Dame Kelly said: “The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust is committed to providing mentoring support to young people who have been left behind and this is when the impact of an athlete, like Olympian Sarah Clark, can be so inspiring.
“My charity’s athletes use their unique skills to help young people make positive changes in their lives. I’m delighted we’re able to make a difference in Edinburgh.”
Participants in the programme use the relationship to improve social skills, build confidence and develop practical skills such as CV writing and job applications, as well as gaining a new-found support network.
Three-time Olympian Clark, who won gold at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games last summer, will mentor the young people as well as motivating them to lead healthier lifestyles.
She said: “I was honoured to be asked to be a mentor in the new project kicking off in Edinburgh.
“To succeed in sports, you need a wide range of life skills such as self-esteem, confidence, teamwork and the ability to pick yourself up when you fall.
“By working with the young people involved in the project, I hope to instil these skills in them and help them reach their individual goals.”
The project has received £175,000 in funding from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The charity lottery has seen more than £58 million raised for charity to date, with 50p from every £2 ticket supporting good causes across the UK.
Jamie Hepburn, minister for sport, health improvement and mental health, said: “Using sport to reach out to young people who feel demotivated and disconnected is a great idea.
“It can reap tremendous dividends, not just for the people involved but for society as a whole.