A miracle we can all believe in

The Ryder Cup’s chosen charity will invoke 2012’s ‘Miracle at Medinah’ to inspire vulnerable young Scots to overcome the odds, says Paul Moore

The victorious European team after the Miracle at Medinah. Picture: Getty
The victorious European team after the Miracle at Medinah. Picture: Getty
The victorious European team after the Miracle at Medinah. Picture: Getty

SCOTT, who had been known to social services since he was four, came to Quarriers when the first tenancy he secured after leaving care broke down because he just couldn’t cope on his own.

As a young child, his life was chaotic. His mum had mental health problems and without proper help, she self-medicated with alcohol.

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It came as no surprise when Scott began to be neglected. Inevitably, there was a crisis and social work had to take him away from his mum and he was placed in emergency foster care.

But, as so often happens, placement after placement broke down because Scott just wanted to be with his mum. Eventually, this led to him being placed in a residential home.

At 16, he left care and moved in to supported accommodation. Then, he managed to secure his own tenancy, but with no idea how to cook, budget or maintain a household, he predictably got into difficulty, and had to return to supported accommodation run by Quarriers.

Predestined for despair

From the age of four, though, his future was virtually inevitable.

We can predict the future of many vulnerable Scottish children and young people like Scott; because they don’t have the skills, confidence and resilience which other young people take for granted, they are predestined for despair.

That is why Quarriers has conceived an initiative called Coaching for Life. Through intensive coaching and mentoring in life skills, we can give young people like Scott the inner resources and resilience he needs to take back control of his life and to re-write his future. A brave new future where he can learn a trade, hold down a job, a house and secure a positive future.

Earlier this year, Quarriers was named as an Official Charity of the 2014 Ryder Cup and the funds generated from the partnership will see the charity roll out Coaching for Life to hundreds of vulnerable young Scots.

In this way, The 2014 Ryder Cup will be celebrated both as a triumph of world-class golf and sporting excellence, and as a catalyst for transforming lives – delivering a lasting legacy for young people turning their lives around.

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The 2012 Ryder Cup has been immortalised as the “Miracle at Medinah”. Against all odds, Europe made perhaps the most stunning comeback in sporting history to win the coveted trophy. Quarriers’s Coaching for Life aims to evoke the spirit of Medinah by inspiring young people who have had a difficult start in life to make a comeback-against all odds – and fulfil their true potential.

Coaching for Life draws inspiration from sports coaching. Just as athletes can be trained to go faster, higher and stronger, the principles of sports coaching – teaching, role modelling, goals, developing skills and mental attitudes – can be applied to help vulnerable young people in improving their life chances. This equips them to overcome daunting disadvantages like homelessness, leaving care, emotional trauma and a neglected education.

Personal development plan

Quarriers aims to achieve this by supporting these young people with a life coach, who will help build resilience and inner strength, empowering them to solve problems for themselves and take control of their lives.

The Coaching for Life initiative is based on a pilot, funded by the Big Lottery, Quarriers ran at one of our children’s homes in Wiltshire. The life coach at the home gave the young people a personal development plan offering education and learning support to build confidence, social skills and resilience and to celebrate achievements.

They represented the young people at school meetings and encouraged them to build on their strengths while finding ways to address their weaknesses. This initiative was one of the reasons why the children’s home was rated as outstanding by Ofsted.

Indeed, an evaluation of the Wiltshire pilot by researchers from Oxford Brookes University found the young people had made good or excellent progress in a whole range of ways, in particular in relation to education and self-esteem.

Here at Quarriers we know that our Coaching for Life initiative, which is rooted in the Wiltshire pilot project, will give young Scots facing a range of challenging circumstances every chance of the positive future they deserve. Young Scots like Scott, who has now been in his own tenancy for the past two years.

Millions of people from across the world will watch events unfold at Gleneagles next September as Team Europe attempts to hold off Team US to retain The Ryder Cup. However, whoever lifts the cup on Sunday 28 September, this date will just signal the beginning of a bright future for hundreds of young Scots supported by Quarriers.

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• Paul Moore is chief executive of Quarriers, which launches its 2014 Ryder Cup Appeal today at the charity’s annual Noel Lunch at the Glasgow Marriott. www.quarriers.org.uk