The Circle Café

Our Café Manager, Stephen and Café Supervisor, Caitlin were invited to attend an education and training session run by charity ‘Who Cares? Scotland’ in partnership with Community Jobs Scotland and SCVO.

Who Cares? Scotland is a national charity which was established in 1978’ with 41 years of experience working directly with Care Experienced people across Scotland. Independent advocacy is at the heart of the organisation.  They are a membership organisation with a multi-layered model who work to tackle stigma, promote positive care identity and effect positive change for Care Experienced people.

During the training session Nick Targontsidis, Education and Training Officer at Who Cares? gave a presentation detailing the challenges that care experienced people are met with every day and the barriers to equality that they are forced to overcome.

This detailed account included statistical information such as the numbers of young people in the care population, where and how care is delivered, the frequency of care experienced people experiencing placement moves and the fact that there are more young people being placed into care for their own care and protection rather than due to criminal offences. This was a particularly important fact as there is a misconception that people who have been in the care system are more likely to commit a crime.

Who Cares? Scotland is determined to remove the stigma and find viable solutions to improve the outcomes for Care Experienced people.

Some of these outcomes are outlined in the statistics below:

  • In 2004 it was stated that 45% of 5-17 year olds in care were diagnosed with mental health disorders, as compared with 9% of their peers.
  • Only 6% of them leaving school for university compared to 40% of their peers.
  • A higher frequency of expulsion.
  • A higher number of school leavers
  • 33% of young people in prison and 31% of adult prisoners self-reported as having previously been in care in a report conducted by the Scottish Prison Service in 2016.

These numbers are unfortunately rising instead of falling as more and more children are finding themselves in the care system.

Due to the above outcomes, it is no surprise that Care Experienced young people do not benefit from equal opportunities and are regularly treated unfairly. There are several barriers that they have to overcome.

Some of these barriers are structural, such as being forced to move from place to place, meaning that they are more likely to have multiple addresses which can be difficult to keep track of over the years.

There may also be Cultural barriers that may not be immediately understood by the wider population, such as stereotypes about care leavers that are perpetuated through mainstream media.

You can find out more about the excessive levels of criminalisation and stigma on young people who have been through the care system by following the link below and watching

Dionne’s story:

It is undeniable that Care experienced young people have many challenges and obstacles to overcome in their lives. These challenges make it very difficult for them to find and maintain steady employment. This is where The Circle Café comes in.

The Circe Café is an Employability and Training programme for looked after young people and care leavers. We intend to support and nurture our candidates through the programme to be fully ready to enter the workforce with practical skills and hands on experience.

In order to do this, we first need to build the café itself, which requires a lot of equipment and any hands-on practical help would also be extremely useful.

We have been lucky enough to be donated a kitchen, which was kindly delivered to us by Doug McLaren from Dundee Resource & Re-Use Centre but we require a few other items, from fridges, display cabinets to cups and tea-spoons.

Also, if anyone is prepared to donate any services such as plumbing, electrical, joinery etc it would also help us get this project off the ground and allow us to help these young people quicker than expected.

To donate any items or get involved in the project please contact us at reception@thecircledundee.org.uk

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