Youth justice

Many of our YMCAs seek to prevent young people from wasting their lives by becoming involved in crime. Once embroiled in the criminal justice system it becomes far more difficult to set a young person back onto the path of achieving their full potential.  As such YMCA focuses mainly upon preventative programmes and early intervention that will prevent this direction of travel for those vulnerable young people deemed to be at risk. Working with partners in Scottish Government, police, education and social work YMCAs deliver a wide range of justice programmes including:

Mentoring Programmes

YMCA has become well known for its leading role in delivering mentoring support to vulnerable young people across Scotland and has won several national awards for this work.


The Plusone™ mentoring programme works with young people aged between 8 and 14 who are on the verge of entering the criminal justice system, diverting them away to achieve their potential in much more positive ways.


Currently being replicated across Scotland the programme achieves 86% of young people significantly changing their behaviour and attitudes (Evaluation: Dundee University, 2011).


In 2014 YMCA Scotland is launching a new mentoring programme called Aspire which recruits and trains volunteers to provide a mentor support programme to vulnerable children referred by primary schools.


Aspire was piloted in the Oxgangs area of Edinburgh achieving consistent success in stabilising vulnerable children as they entered high school. Many of the children referred to Aspire have been excluded from school, struggle with their peers and have problems at home. Aspire is delivered by local churches and community organisations in partnership with the YMCA. It targets vulnerable children at age 11 to provide the earliest intervention with the aim of enabling them to achieve their fullest potential.