Cheviot Youth: The power of making tiny changes

Published on 17.06.21

Since 2011, Cheviot Youth have been helping young minds feel better in and around Jedburgh and Kelso in the Scottish Borders. They work with children and young people age 8 to 25.

The power of making a tiny change.

This is the story of how one tiny change can make a big difference.

A few years ago, 14-year-old Bella* from the Scottish Borders went to see her GP. Bella had generally withdrawn from life.

She was struggling to attend school, felt low and had anxiety for a long time, had frequent outbursts of anger, and low self-esteem. People around her were worried about her and thought she was at risk of taking her own life. The doctor referred Bella to a partner mental health service for young people in the Borders – Cheviot Youth.

Bella started a course of face-to-face sessions with a Cheviot Youth Practitioner; a safe space to talk about how she was feeling inside. After some time, her mood improved, the feelings of anxiety became less frequent, and her mind started to feel better. Bella’s time with Cheviot Youth didn’t end here.

Feeling positive, she made a decision to become a Cheviot Youth volunteer. She volunteered, achieved a First Aid Certificate, attended child protection training and started looking forward to her future.  Thanks to the early support of the doctor and charity, Bella is now a qualified Youth Worker.

Early intervention helps young minds feel better, for years.

Bella’s story of service user to Youth Worker shows the power of making tiny changes. Investing in and providing early support for a child, teenager or young person who is struggling does more than help their mind feel better.  It can:

  • improve communication;
  • eliminate self stigma;
  • keep them safe;
  • provide life-long coping tools;
  • help someone achieve their potential;
  • open up new opportunities and dreams;
  • change their life.

The number of children needing support is increasing. Community funding is decreasing.

Cheviot Youth run a community café, a digital media project, a mental health and wellbeing project, an environmental project and two programmes on self-esteem and bullying for primary and secondary age children and their families.

While demand for their mental health support service, free grocery deliveries, energy grants and clothing grants increased over the past year, Cheviot Youth watched their income decline as their face-to-face work stopped and their café had to close.

The Tiny Changes Covid-19 Relief Fund helped Cheviot Youth

meet their staff and equipment costs so they could continue to support children and young people’s mental health.

Cheviot Youth are a local charity doing largely unsung work on the ground, and collaborating with others to make it happen.

They have adapted, and continue to carry out their important work together with other frontline professionals, e.g. those in education, health, police, social work, and other charities.

This makes their work even stronger as they learn from each other, can support all the needs and rights of young people, and improve mental health support in their area, together.

What's next

Tiny Changes are so proud of what partners like Cheviot Youth achieved throughout the pandemic and we loved writing up this story of change.

We’re working hard to raise money and awareness to fund essential mental health services in communities like this one.

To find out more about Cheviot Youth and the work that they do, visit find their website here.

To help young minds feel better and fund more projects like this one click here to donate to Tiny Changes.

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Join the conversation and become a tiny change maker today.

This is just the beginning of the journey, and with your help we can make lots of tiny changes that lead to a huge difference in how young people are supported and listened to.

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