“Creativity has been central to our response to Covid-19, maintaining a focus on adaptability and opportunity. This has not been without challenge against a backdrop of immediate impact and projected, yet undefined and indefinite hurdles. By prioritising innovation, we have considered our role in the immediate and longer-term response while maintaining ambition, our core values and programme principles.
“The main driver of our ‘Developing Young People in Scotland’ portfolio of activity is ensuring young people have the opportunities, through their education, to be empowered to be the difference they want to see; to be active citizens and contributors now and in the future.
“We want young people to be able to think for themselves and be committed to building a better world than the one that they are inheriting; armed with the skills, learning and inspiration to be the innovators of their generation.
“We talk a lot about the ‘new normal’. I can certainly relate to the clamour for some semblance of normality. Yet, I find myself increasingly wondering whether what we hope of this ‘new normal’ is actually acting on everything we already knew could be done differently or better but never previously had the space, time or imperative through which to shift the envelope.
“In times of upheaval, challenges are far better shared. Collaboration, which requires honesty, trust, and openness, is key in developing creative solutions. Our learning and relationships with partners and stakeholders play a big part in our thinking.
“This is a pivotal, generation-defining, moment and how we harness this opportunity will be vitally important.
“Our schools-based programmes immediately adapted to continue to meaningfully support our partners during lockdown. These delivery models will continue to evolve, providing solutions which are proactive and a value-add reflective of the ever-changing landscape.
“RAiSE is providing solutions to champion STEM education for children; Excelerate is evolving and working in partnership with its four pilot schools on the role of progressive education; and the GLP network is collaborating in new and innovative ways.
“Our flagship programme, YPI, has had to be particularly agile. Your Community Fund was developed and offered to schools within a matter of weeks of lockdown. We wanted to ensure all eligible pupils retained the right to advocate on behalf of their local communities in a meaningful way and were delighted to receive 95 submissions from young people the length and breadth of the country.
“The 2020/21 academic year will continue with sustained challenge for our education and third sectors. We have outlined clear adaptations to YPI which make it fit-for-purpose in a very different environment; one where the need for youth voice and opportunity for action have never been so acute.
“The ambitions for our programmes remain as high as ever. The need for these interventions and to collaborate with a range of partners who place creativity, innovation, and ambition at the heart of their practice is paramount. To be flexible and intelligence-led in how we tackle challenge and deliver upon our collective ambition for young people will remain at the forefront of our actions and decision making.”