New Key to Potential project opens to support young people in Falkirk

18 September 2023
KTP Falkirk team 2023

A new service opening in Falkirk will support young people leaving school, offering them the confidence, direction, and one-on-one support to reach positive destinations.

The service, called Key to Potential Falkirk with CashBack for Communities, is run by Cyrenians, a homelessness prevention charity operating in Falkirk, Edinburgh and South East Scotland. Already a successful service working with young people leaving Edinburgh schools, we’re expanding to Falkirk thanks to funding from CashBack for Communities, a unique Scottish Government programme which reinvests criminal assets recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and invests in projects delivering positive futures for our young people. The programme has strong links to the Scottish Government’s Vision for Justice in Scotland.

Key to Potential Falkirk with CashBack for Communities will offer wraparound support to young people and their families at risk of falling through the cracks. Cyrenians’ skilled key workers work closely not only with 16-19 year olds who are leaving or have left school, but also with their families, to support them towards a positive destination of their choosing – school, college, vocational training, or their chosen career.

Schools can refer young people to the service who are disengaged with education and don’t have a clear path to follow. Parents and carers can also contact the service direct to ask for one-to-one support for a young person in their care. Key to Potential will work closely with each young person over a six-month period to help them identify where they’d like their future to go, work through any barriers and help them take the next steps towards the future they’d like to see.

For every young person, this support looks different – but Cyrenians works to make sure that not only are young people directed towards courses, services, training and support that can help them achieve their goals, but that their whole families are supported to build strong, positive relationships that offer ongoing support to their child.

Richard Thorniley-Walker, Manager for Skills and Development at Cyrenians, said:

“For young people who are struggling with school or not really engaged – whether that’s because of mental health, physical health challenges, lack of support, difficulties going on at home, or any number of other issues – leaving school can be a really difficult time. And getting support so you’re not just falling into the unknown can be absolutely vital."

“There’s a huge amount we can do to help people find a path to a really positive destination that they might not even have thought was possible a few months ago. We’ve been running our Key to Potential service in Edinburgh since 2012 with really positive results – we’ve supported over 750 young people, 94% moving on to positive destinations in that time. Young people who didn’t really see a future for themselves beyond the next few months who, with the support and the confidence they’ve built up through their time with us, are succeeding in college, moving through training for their dream jobs – building something really great for themselves.

“Cyrenians’ goal is to tackle homelessness, not just by putting people in houses but by going right to the root causes – and that’s a big part of what we’re doing here. Falling through the cracks – not getting the support and the direction you need when you’re just starting out in life – is one of the biggest indicators for long-term life chances. If we’re able to meet people where they’re at when they’re 16, 17, 18, and help them get onto a positive path where they’ve got the confidence, support, skills and resources to achieve their dreams, that adds up to a really different picture in the long term.”

Sam Linton, CashBack for Communities Fund Manager at Inspiring Scotland, said:

“We’re really excited to be working with Cyrenians on this project, which we think will have a huge positive impact for at least 90 young people and their families in Falkirk, the community as a whole.”

Key to Potential is based out of Arnotdale House in Camelon, where Cyrenians also operate multiple other services, including working with young adults affected by the Covid 19 pandemic, training and employability programmes for all ages, and support for those leaving the criminal justice system. As of the past month, the team have begun working with their first clients, and will be supporting 16 young people in Falkirk between now and Christmas.

If you would like more information about the service, or would like to refer a young person in your care to Key to Potential, please contact our Senior Keyworker Peter McGregor on 07918 974390 or email