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Hand in Hand is a unique Peer Buddying and Inclusion project which aims to address the social inequalities for local young people with Additional Support Needs and/or Disabilities.  Young people who are socially isolated and who are not receiving the level of developmental support required to access opportunities within the area.  These disengaged young people are the most hard to reach and as a result many of them have low self-esteem/confidence and a lack of social and life skills. 

Hand in Hand is working to drive forward social change within our recognised deprived community in regards to greater inclusion and equality for young people with ASN.  The implementation of the “Hand in Hand” buddy initiative has been a natural progression in GYT’s policy of youth empowerment and total inclusion for all local young people. 

Hand in Hand is also the parent of DFN Project Search South Ayrshire.

DFN Project SEARCH helps young adults with learning disabilities and/or those on the autistic spectrum who can benefit from intensive, personalised support in preparing for and finding work.

Project SEARCH provides a 9 month work placement for students with learning disabilities and/or on the autistic spectrum in their final year of education and want their next step to be employment.  Project SEARCH interns spend their day at the National Trust for Scotland’s Culzean Castle, near Maybole. Total immersion in a working environment supports the teaching and learning process and builds employability and the work skills needed for employment.  Interns participate in three rotations to explore a variety of job and career paths. They work with a team that includes their family, college tutor and job coach specialist, to create an employment goal.

The strategic aim of this project is for the young people with Learning Disabilities to secure competitive employment.

  • Young people with Learning Disabilities are able to access meaningful training and employment.

  • There is greater integration of young people with Learning Disabilities within the local business sector and local wider community.

  • More young people with Learning Disabilities fulfil their needs on a Vocational, Educational & Social level through an increase of person centred opportunities.

Hand in Hand, and DFN Project Search South Ayrshire, are delivered by  Rachael McMillan (Youth Development Worker), Sonia Connell (Job Coach), Lauren McEwan (Youth Worker) and Toby McGowan (Youth Worker).

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