Young people take positive steps forward through CashBack

CashBack for Creativity

Over 43,000 young people across the country have participated in the CashBack for Creativity programme since its inception in 2008.  As we publish the latest 2017/18 Annual Report for the programme, we look at the impact it’s having on young people across the country..

Helping young people achieve things they never imagined they could...

CashBack for Creativity enables young people to explore their creativity, achieve things they never imagined they could and builds key skills for life - like forming friendships and building confidence.

The programme recognises that many of the young people involved can be coming from difficult places, so their involvement in a CashBack project can be a real chance to get some space and time away from other parts of their lives.

Screen Education Edinburgh

“Coming here has cleared my head, it makes me feel good about myself" says one young participant involved in activities at Screen Education Edinburgh. "I think positive, you know, it takes away the negative thoughts I have.”

Another participant from Toonspeak in Glasgow adds: “I never knew I would like theatre until Toonspeak. The area I live in is not great, someone was murdered there recently. Theatre is away from all this. It gives me a break from my house and my responsibilities, but it has also made me more confident and helped me to make more friends.”

Supporting young people to take the next steps in their lives...

The programme provides essential creative opportunities to Scotland’s young people to raise their aspirations for future employment and build confidence and self-esteem while also having fun in their communities.

In 2017/18, almost 900 young people involved in CashBack projects took positive steps towards things like further learning, training, developing skills and employment, positively improving lives in many different communities across Scotland.

“It’s mainly life skills" one participant explains, "like I’m not sure what kind of job I actually want to get into, but being able to take charge, work in a team, having social skills, that’s made me more confident and able to come out my comfort zone and just let people see me for me.”


The programme supports each participant to work through their ideas and develop at their own pace. The range of skills and achievements is truly inspiring - from the range of creative work produced, including short films, new music recording and public dance performances, to the more formal awards and qualifications gained like the Arts Award and Duke of Edinburgh.

As one young participant in Dundee's Hot Chocolate project said, “The whole thing made me revisit the way I think about art – just to push on, try it again, do something new.  I want to get myself to university. This gave me a process for inspiration, a chance to travel, and experiences for my CV and portfolio.”

Giving organisations funding to reach more young people...

£2.6m of funding is supporting 15 arts and community organisations to deliver long term projects from 2017-20, along with annual project funding supporting a range of shorter-term activity across every local authority in Scotland.

In 2017/18 this meant that 49 organisations were able to reach 3,620 young people and in the process they could build effective partnerships with a range of other organisations in the community. Partnerships included the NHS, Social Services, Who Cares? Scotland, Scottish Prison Service, Local Authorities, Barnardo’s and a range of other charity and third sector organisations all working together in the best interests of the young people.

Eden Court in Inverness have delivered CashBack projects across the duration of the CashBack programme from 2008. They said: “There is no doubt from us or our partners that the CashBack for Creativity fund has allowed us to work on multiple long term projects that have been of great benefit and allowed us to try models of participation and delivery.”

Aberdeen-based SHMU agree, saying: “The matched funding from CashBack has allowed the organisation to secure additional funding… that has enabled our organisation to develop our progressions pipeline for young people.”

SHMU Youth Media Project (funded by CashBack for Creativity). Photo credit: Graham Dargie

What’s next?

The 2017/18 Annual Report tells the story of year one of the three-year programme – and carries stories from some of the young people who have taken part and grown through the programme.

This includes a group of youngsters who learned the skills to produce and record podcasts, and have gone on to produce a suite of podcasts about the CashBack programme itself.

CashBack for Creativity

The podcasts were commissioned by Creative Scotland to further explore and share the findings of BOP Consulting’s 2017 research into the CashBack programme, which gives an insight into the wide-ranging impact of the arts and creativity on the lives of young people who have experienced additional challenges in life or experience barriers to access and explores good practice in delivering creative projects to young people.

The next round of funding for the CashBack for Creativity Open Fund opens for applications in November 2018. This fund seeks support projects for up to 12 months, and applicants can apply for funding of up to £10,000.

About CashBack for Creativity

CashBack for Creativity is funded through the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme, which redistributes the proceeds of crime to benefit young people.

The programme aims to tackle inequality by removing barriers to access and provision of arts and creative experiences for young people, aged 10-24 regardless of background or situation.

The programme provides access to access a range of high-quality arts, screen and creative industries activities including filmmaking, fashion, design, arts and crafts, dance creations, music making, and creative writing.

This article was published on 31 Oct 2018