A DOZEN unemployed young men have found they have green fingers and boosted their chances of finding work by creating a garden for disabled children.
The green space, in the grounds of charity Stoneside Short Breaks, in Eastwood, features decking, swings, a new shed and raised bedding and will be used by more than 80 children and their families to play in and plant vegetables.
The project, launched by Action for Children as part of their Inspiring Scotland Challenges initiative, is just one event which has helped out-of-work youngsters improve their skills. They also boosted the amenities at the centre which hosts disabled children and young people for short breaks away from home.
Young people signing up to take part in one of the challenges have the chance to learn employability based skills, undertake a course designed to improve financial management and gain real work experience.
Paul Carberry, operational director of children's services at Action for Children Scotland, believes the project has given the participants a better chance of finding a job while making a real difference to the community.
He said: "As well as making a positive difference to the service, the young men have developed skills and gained experience that will stand them in good stead for the future – including working as part of a team, timekeeping and basic construction skills.
"The group should be proud of what they have achieved – the hard work and effort put in over the past few weeks have made a real difference and will be hugely appreciated by the children and families who use the service.
Jordan McCann, 17, worked on the East Renfrewshire project for six weeks and feels one step closer to landing a dream job.
He said: "I've been unemployed for six months and have really enjoyed taking part in the Challenge. It has been great to meet new people, learn new skills and have something to focus on.
"At times it has been tough but we have worked on despite the rain and it has been worth it.
"I am proud of what we have achieved and I hope the children who use Stoneside Short Breaks service are pleased – now I just hope we see a little sunshine this summer so that they can get out and enjoy the garden!"