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The Nested Services Model – How one Charity in Scotland is Providing Holistic Support to Young people

Helen Morton is a Grants Manager at PHF
Helen Morton is a Grants Manager at PHF

On 28 November Helen Morton visited The Junction in Edinburgh, a PHF Youth Fund grantee.

One of the most rewarding parts of my role is getting out and about to meet the great projects and people that Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) funds. One of my most recent visits was to The Junction in Leith, Edinburgh. The Junction is a safe, friendly, confidential space that offers lots of health-related services, education and support for young people in Leith and North East Edinburgh aged 12 to 21.

On arrival I was greeted by the Director of the project, Sam Anderson, who welcomed me with a tour of the facilities. The spaces in the building have been thoughtfully designed to be welcoming, informal and comfortable (rather than clinical) but with the flexibility to support its many functions – youth group space, one to one work, health and well-being advice, among others.

Right to left: Sam Anderson, Director at the Junction. Irvine Welsh, Patron at the Junction.
Right to left:
Sam Anderson: Director at the Junction. Irvine Welsh: Patron at the Junction. Image credit: The Junction.

I found The Junction particularly interesting because of its ‘nested service’ approach. What does a ‘nested service’ approach mean? Well, it enables young people to access the services they need in one place and in a flexible way, treating young people as individuals rather than seeing them as defined by a particular need. The model was devised based on feedback from young people who use the services, meaning their views and ideas have shaped how the organisation operates today. The Junction itself puts it best:

“We maintain a wider outlook, rather than focusing solely on the issue presented we try to see the whole person, and the different factors influencing their life. This way, no matter who walks through The Junction’s door or engages with us when we are out and about, whatever question or scenario they bring with them, we’ll respond in a way that’s helpful to them (i.e. no rules such as ‘we only deal with alcohol issues on Wednesdays, please come back then’). Within our holistic approach our services are layered, allowing young people to engage at their appropriate level & time.”

The Junction street outreach. Image credit: The Junction.

The Junction is looking to share this model and the PHF Youth Fund grant is giving them the capacity and space to plan and action this work. Sam Anderson also has plans to develop relationships with decision makers to advocate for the needs of the young people who use the services. As Sam says “Shaping policy is really important because what we do at the moment is support young people to manage the difficulties in their lives, but there’s a reason why those difficulties exist in the first place. If we can help young people join up their personal experiences with the wider system around them, and if that can help change the system to be fairer, then that’s going to make their lives easier in the long run.”

Use the link on the right to find out more about The Junction.

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