At SU Scotland we recognise God's special concern for the poor and are committed to reach those from areas of deprivation in Scottish towns and cities.

In Scotland today, 19% of children live in poverty (Scottish Government report, March 2014), where they experience economic disadvantage and social marginalisation first-hand. Poverty affects every aspect of child development, and also reduces young people's opportunities in life. With this in mind, we run a range of activities and programme specifically aimed at young people growing up in disadvantaged communities.

Urban Schools


Help us make a difference in schools where many of the pupils are living in poverty. There are 226 primary schools and 44 secondary schools across the country which we count as being urban schools. These are the 10% of Scottish schools with the highest percentages of pupils receiving free school meals.

We would love to see the number of SU Groups increase in urban schools. Currently we have SU Groups in 8.4% of urban primary schools and 20.9% of urban secondary schools. These figures are lower than the national picture, and we really want to change that. Could you help some of the neediest children in Scotland?

How you can get involved…

  • Volunteer in a school. If you're interested in helping or starting an SU Group in an urban school, please contact John Nonhebel.
  • Please pray for an urban school or SU Scotland's wider urban work.

Motiv8 Holidays

We provide a targeted programme of holidays at an affordable price, designed specifically for children and young people affected by poverty. These are often life-changing weeks for the children and young people who attend, as well as for the volunteers who help to lead.

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Motiv8 Holidays are particularly geared towards providing a great holiday experience for those from poorer backgrounds. They differ from other SU Holidays in that:

  • Children and young people are referred rather than booking directly
  • Referrers send adults on the team whom the young people already know
  • There is a higher ratio of adults to young people than at other SU Holidays (two adults to five young people)
  • The team arrive at least a day before the young people for training

How can you get involved?

Local partnerships

Over the years, Scripture Union Scotland has played an important role in the development of two community based projects helping to make a difference in the lives of young people in some of the neediest parts of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Junction 12

Junction 12 is a youth project based in the east end of Glasgow. It aims to establish and develop caring and nurturing relationships with young people aged 10–18 in Carntyne, Cranhill and Riddrie, enabling them to make positive and healthy choices in every area of their lives.

J12 is now established as a charity separate from SU Scotland. There are two full time workers and a group of committed volunteers who willingly give their time and energy.

The project offers a range of activities for local young people within the schools and community. Working in partnership with local churches, Junction 12's weekly activities include drop ins, emotional and behavioural support groups, SU Groups and outings, detached work and annual residential events.


Ferrywell Youth Project

The Ferrywell Youth Project (FYP) has been launched in response to a growing need for a joined up  approach to a range of volunteer led activities that have been carried out under the auspices of SU Scotland in one of the most deprived areas of north Edinburgh. These activities have grown to include a weekly youth club known as DIME; after school or lunch time clubs in local primary and secondary schools; one to one mentoring work and taking young people away on residential breaks during the year. In total, the current work engages with around 70 children through a group of around 15 volunteers, several of whom have progressed from group membership to be volunteer leaders.

To date the work has been volunteer-led, but has now reached the stage where in order for it to develop more strategically and have greater impact, it is essential to have a full-staff member. This will allow further development of activities and support an increased mentoring programme for the young people. To facilitate this FYP has been established as an independent charity. Initially, it is envisaged that there will be one employee, most likely with social work experience, with a view towards appointing a second paid worker in due course. 

This work is based in an inner city area of north Edinburgh encompassing the communities of West Pilton, Muirhouse and Drylaw. This is an area of high social deprivation, most of it ranked with in the top 10% of deprived areas according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.

The aim of FYP is to enable young people to fulfil their potential and make good life choices. There will be a focus on developing life skills, leadership potential and resilience. FYP will aim to maintain and grow positive relationships with the management of local primary and secondary schools. This will enable the identifying of needs and opportunities and provide a base for giving support to pupils with a focus on the most vulnerable. FYP will also engage positively with local churches in the area.