SWITCH holds to these values:
- Everyone matters to God.
- Everyone has God-given potential that should not be limited by circumstances beyond their control.
- God’s love brings positive change and lifts people to achieve this potential.
- Communities can be transformed one life at a time.
All SWITCH projects engage young people in order to promote positive
life choices. For the majority of those we support, our activities are not
only eye-opening but life-changing. We facilitate local sports
activities for young people which build positive relationships and
cultivate attitudes of fair play, sportsmanship and teamwork. Our
activities are specifically designed to be accessible for vulnerable
children and young people.
All of our activities are
developed in consultation with those who benefit from our work. We
adopt an approach that draws on the ideas and solutions already present
in our communities. When engaging the children and young people,
positive role models are demonstrated by the project leaders who also
give short talks on life topics that cover areas including citizenship
and responsibility, health and well- being, faith and respect for
To find out more about the history or future direction of SWITCH, please use the tabs above.
roots of the charity stretch back to 2005 when a group of local
Christians started up a basketball club for the children and young
people Liberton and Gracemount. Gracemount is included in the top 15%
of deprived areas of Edinburgh, where crime, truancy and addiction are
a continuing problem amongst young people. The aim of the club was to
use this time to support the young people, coach them in invaluable
life skills, and share the good news found in the Christian faith. The
club has continued to be very popular over the years and through it
around 100 young people have benefited greatly.
2008, through partnership with Morningside Baptist Church, a Street
Team was established in the Gracemount area which built on and
complimented the basketball club. Over the years the Street Team has
developed with 50-60 young people coming on a Friday night and an
increasing number of volunteers making up the team. The aim of the
Street Team is to build trust with local children and young people by
going out to them, and also to be a positive presence in the local
neighbourhood. The local police report that our presence on a Friday
night in encouraging the local youth to get involved in something more
productive helps them to focus on the more serious crimes.
2009-2010, the work in Gracemount expanded again when a local volunteer
took a year out to dedicate more of her time to the area. This enabled
young people to access a lunchtime basketball club at Gracemount
Primary School once per week, and after the summer of 2010 this
extended to two lunchtimes. In addition, small group outings were
started to enable some focussed time to be spent with the children to
deepen relationships and raise the potential for change in their lives.
These outings included climbing, going out for a meal, learning to cook
a meal, helping at a local chicken farm, and horse vaulting. In all of
these activities we sought to support and ‘coach’ these young people,
and share God’s love with them.
By this time there was a
lot of interconnected work happening in the local area of Gracemount
and there were local volunteers who could see the potential of bringing
this together as a charity. Thus SWITCH was started in April 2010 as a
fully registered Scottish Charity with the vision of seeking “to
demonstrate God’s love by reaching, inspiring and supporting young
people from deprived areas in Scotland.” Since then the Trustees have
been seeking to put the right support structures in place to sustain
the 200 volunteer hours given each month!
Our desire is to see the work of SWITCH continue and flourish. Areas we would like to develop are:
- a small group for young girls to promote healthy lifestyle...
- a breakfast club…
- A mentoring scheme…
- Provide support…
But to sustain our work, and create space to expand, we recognise the
need to employ someone full-time and so are working towards raising
around £26,000 per year through donations from individuals and awards
SWITCH was awarded a grant from the City of
Edinburgh Council to work towards achieving the ‘Investing in
Volunteers’ standard, a recognised UK standard for organisations that
invest highly in their volunteers. We successfully achieved this award
in autumn 2011.