Best foot forward

This year so many events have been cancelled that it was a pleasant surprise to learn that the popular Kiltwalk fundraiser was able to go ahead, in a reduced 'virtual' capacity at least, as the full events would have been logistically impossible to stage with social distancing. I've had some association with 'Who Cares? Scotland' through my own video work over the last 5 or so years, and my wife has also worked for them for the last 2 years. Last Christmas Day I had a great time volunteering at their Care Family Christmas dinner in Glasgow, ferrying excited young people from Dundee to SWG13 for dinner and gifts, and I hope I am able to do the same this year.

'Who Cares? Scotland' are a charity who advocate, organise for, and campaign for Care Experienced Young People, and work to improve outcomes for those who have been in care who often have difficulties in accessing employment and further education. There are many stark statistics, which I'll try not to dwell upon in this positive piece, but it shocked me to realise that a care experienced young person is more likely to end up in prison or dead by the age of 25 than at University. The impact of lockdown on young with care experience cannot be overstated. The world has became a frightening place for us all, more so for those without family support systems, or a close circle of friends they can call on (many care experienced people have been moved around a lot, between schools etc) normal points of personal contacts like social workers, advocates, doctors have been closed off, there have been instances where foster placements have been reneged upon by carers. Remember that over 90% of care experienced young people find themselves in that situation through no decision, action or fault of their own, but suffer the consequences, the affected mental health, the diminished opportunites. The lack of encouragement, the absence of feeling safe and loved.

It's for these reasons that the Kiltwalk in particular has been such a hit with Who Cares? Scotland in the past. It's a group event. You are supported by your peers, people to whom you don't have to explain about your home situation, you are not stigmatised, you are included a community of friends with immediate empathy because they have walked the same path. CEYP often talk of 'the care family' for reasons that experiences like the Kiltwalk encourage. As I have had some free time of late, I offered to make a wee promotional clip to help get folks to sign up for the 'virtual kilwalk' and so scripted, shot and edited a light positive clip to hopefully harness the goodwill people feel towards the Kiltwalk, and to help raise some money at a time when Who Cares Scotland are providing emergency essential practical, emotional and financial support to care experienced people in a crisis because of lockdown.

The clip was put out on Who Cares? Scotland's social media channels and at the time of writing the video had 5,000 plays via Twitter alone, and even specific positive engagement from Sir Tom Hunter himself! In total the Who Cares Scotland Kiltwalkers managed to raise £9,000 at short notice, which the Sir Tom Hunter Foundation has very kindly doubled to £18,000.

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