Hearts fans are asked to mentor troubled children

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Heart of Midlothian supporters are being asked to donate their time to a unique cause – to mentor troubled children and teenagers.

The Edinburgh club has called on fans to come forward and volunteer to support children as young as five who are suffering from social isolation.

Picture; contributed

Picture; contributed

The 1-2-1 support service is the first of its kind in Scottish football.

Big Hearts Community Trust, the official charity of the club, hopes the befriending project will make a difference to the lives of the young people involved by providing them with good role models.

“We have 10 people who have expressed interest already, which is brilliant,” said Craig Wilson, communications and fundraising officer at the Trust.

“We are hoping to encourage more people to come forward and provide this vital support.”

The project aims to help young people improve their emotional health and become more active in the community.

The Big Hearts Befriending Service will be run in partnership with The Broomhouse Centre, who have significant experience in providing befriending services for young people.

Full training will be provided for volunteers by the Broomhouse Centre.

Mr Wilson said: “We don’t want anyone to be put off by any aspect and proper training will be provided to those who are interested.

“The main aim is to support these young people who will have faced a difficulties and give them a befriender who they can depend on,” he added.

Since October 2015 Big Hearts has provided support to Kinship Care Families which includes a weekly after school club, school holiday activities and tickets for Kinship Families at Hearts’ home matches.

A key part of the programme is also to raise awareness of Kinship Care.

Big Hearts general manager, Caryn Kerr: “This is a fantastic initiative, which we are delighted to be offering to Kinship Care Young People.

“The project is only possible because of the goodwill and passion of our Big Hearts Supporters. We already have lots of Hearts fans keen to become befrienders and we know, with the support of our project worker, that they will all do a brilliant job in helping these young people.”

“We’ve seen the difference our Kinship Care Programme has made to lots of families in the last year and this new strand of support will see us offer something which has the potential to make a considerable difference to the young people involved.”

Amanda Farquhar, youth befriending project manager said: “The Broomhouse Centre Youth Befriending Project is proud and delighted to expand their service within the city of Edinburgh; supporting children and young people within Kinship Care, working in partnership with Big Hearts Community Trust.”

Fans of the football club or anyone interested in becoming a Big Hearts Befriender can attend an information session in the Willie Bauld Suite at Tynecastle on November 29 at 6.45pm. For details or further enquiries please email innes.shirreff@bighearts.org.uk.