Breakthrough Announces Closure

The Breakthrough 1:1 mentoring programme has announced it will wind down early next year.

The local initiative, developed to boost the life chances of secondary-aged young people who are care experienced or facing significant barriers, was set up in 2017.

The impact of COVID-19 has severely challenged the 1:1, face-to-face, mentoring programme for pupils.  The ongoing pandemic means that the school-based initiative would not be able to re-commence in full until Autumn 2021 at the earliest.

Ellis Watson, Chairman of Breakthrough 1:1, said, “We’re immensely proud of what we’ve achieved in three short, very effective years.  Hundreds of young people across Dundee and Angus have been supported to improve their life chances with meaningful mentoring relationships, powerful work and learning experiences as well as personal development sessions.

“There are a number of factors involved but COVID-19 has severely challenged the ability to deliver our service in schools, despite great efforts to pivot the model digitally.  No-one could have predicted what would happen in 2020 and we have looked and re-looked at the options to understand all routes before taking this difficult decision.

“We’ve got a legacy we can be proud of and so I’d like to give public thanks and credit to the mentors from the local business and wider community, Dundee City and Angus Councils, Dundee and Arbroath secondary schools and of course, our amazingly talented Breakthrough team for supporting this incredible charitable initiative with such enthusiasm and energy.  The biggest and most important thanks though must go to our amazing young people, who have put their trust in us, engaged so openly and have embraced the opportunities Breakthrough provided.”

Audrey May, Chief Education Officer at Dundee City Council, said, “Breakthrough has not only shown what can be achieved if the community works with our most deserving of young people, it’s also reaffirmed that every young person can achieve their remarkable potential if we believe in them and help them develop it.  Dundee can be very proud of how Breakthrough delivered for the whole community.

“Every one of the young people currently on the programme will continue their development with us in the coming months, so that all our commitments are honoured throughout our exit.  Whilst we’re sad to say goodbye to our network of mentors and mentees in January 2021, we’re so proud of the resolve, passion and extraordinary development of the young people we’ve been privileged to work with.

“We’ve learned as much as the young people and in the 2021/22 academic year, when COVID-19 is more behind us, we’ll be taking the learnings from Breakthrough and looking at how some of the benefits might come back in potential future initiatives.”