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Callander Youth Project Trust – Inspiring Scotland

Empowering Young People in Scotland

  • Social Purpose Organisation (SPO):
  • Callander Youth Project Trust
  • Country:
  • United Kingdom
  • Sector:
  • Economic and social development
  • Final Beneficiaries:
  • Unemployed people
  • Children and youth

  • Venture Philanthropy Organisation (VPO):
  • Inspiring Scotland
  • Financial instrument:
  • Grant
  • Funding timeline:
  • 2008-2018


In some rural areas in Scotland, young people are faced with barriers to access training or the labour market. Too many of them don’t make the successful transition from school into employment and the next stage of their life. The consequences of not moving into education, employment or training has a significant and long-term scarring effect on their economic outcomes but health and wellbeing as well. These young people face many barriers: lack of qualifications, time absent from school, being a young carer, adverse childhood experiences (ACES’s), family circumstances and poverty.

Founded in 1997, Callander Youth Project Trust (CYPT) started its activities from a room in the local high school, providing extra-curriculum support to pupils needing further help at school. Inspiring Scotland selected CYPT as one of its Ventures in the 14:19 Portfolio in 2008 initially to offer Rural Skills programmes.It was quickly realised that as hospitality is the primary labour driver in Callander and the surrounding area CYPT trialled offering hospitality programmes based around a café in a disused hotel. This was so successful that   in 2012 CYPT decided to buy the Bridgend Hotel using social investment funding and reserves to upgrade and launch a 5-star youth hostel, café, and events venue. That way, the SPO could offer training with recognised qualifications and some apprenticeship as an alternative to school for those who dropped out.

CYPT built a business model which fits with the local operating environment and meets young people’s needs, and within just a few months of opening, the hostel was awarded 5 stars from the national tourism agency VisitScotland.


As of December 2017, since 2008


young people trained or employed


young people achieving alternative curriculum or qualification


How it started

In January 2008, Inspiring Scotland launched the 14:19 Fund with an open call for applications. This fund aims to help some of the most disadvantaged young people aged 14 to 19 in Scotland who struggle to access employment, education or training, giving them the chance to transform their lives. The application process lasted for six months and was divided into two stages. In the second stage, Inspiring Scotland started an intense due diligence process, where each applicant worked with a dedicated member of staff. The VPO was looking at the SPOs’ capacity to engage with Venture Philanthropy, their vision and ambition, as well as their business plan.

CYPT was one of the 24 SPOs selected amongst over the 100 initial applicants. Inspiring Scotland recognised that there was a need in that geographical area and saw the potential in CYPT to help young people make the most of the tourist industry in Callander, a town where many visitors pass by to travel up north in the Highlands.

Support provided

In early 2009, Inspiring Scotland started providing a venture investment of around £150,000 initially, reducing as business developed in line with a policy of exit at 10 years. These investments have been released based on pre-defined achievement targets, evaluated through performance review meetings. This financial support allowed CYPT to purchase Callander’s Bridgend Hotel in 2012, which was then converted into a café, youth centre and eventually a 5-star hostel.

As CYPT management had no experience in running such a business both Inspiring Scotland’s business skills and sourced pro bono support was extensively used in bringing the project to life and ensuring delivery of a top quality offering in addition to providing opportunities to young people in the area.

Inspiring Scotland’s long-term support also allowed CYPT to secure extra funding from other social investors, such as a loan from Social Investment Scotland. This match-funding exercise, along with that of increasing their own revenue from the hostel, was part of their business plan.


Non-financial support at a glance

  • Business Planning Icon

    Business Planning

  • Fundraising Icon


  • Governance Icon


  • Legal Advice Icon

    Legal Advice

  • Management Team and CEO Support Icon

    Management Team and CEO Support

  • Marketing Icon


  • Revenue Strategy Icon

    Revenue Strategy

  • Strategy Consulting Icon

    Strategy Consulting

  • Theory of Change IM Icon

    Theory of change, Impact Strategy & Impact Measurement

While Inspiring Scotland Performance Advisors provided the majority of support throughout the investment, additional support from Inspiring Scotland’s pool of 400+ pro bono volunteers from was provided. Inspiring Scotland connected CYPT to a tourism consultant who delivered a large piece of consultancy work on tourism and marketing feasibility.  Additional support was provided in accounting, HR, interior design and and even a solution to  gable-end water ingress.

Impact Measurement

As of December 2017, since 2008

Outcome Indicator Target Results
Improved soft skills: Confidence, resilience, self-esteem No. of young people reporting increased confidence, self-esteem and resilience 500 684
Increased capacity to achieve alternative curriculum/qualification No. of young people who achieved alternative learning opportunities and qualifications 1,000 1,116
Increased youth employment No. or young people trained or employed 350 346

CYPT keeps in touch with the young people they worked with, to see how they’re doing and their success rate.

At the fund level, Inspiring Scotland publishes bi-annual reports on the progress of the 14:19 Fund, looking at specific social and financial indicators, non-financial support investment, and providing case studies. The social impact achieved through the fund from January 2009 to December 2017:

Number of young people supported 57,986
Number of progression milestones acheived (official and nationally recognised qualifications or awards obtained) 68,084
Number of young people in employment, education and training 31,096
14:19 Fund investment £48.3m
Income leveraged £64.6m

For more information, click here to download the 14:19 Fund 2017 Annual Report

What they think

— Emma, CYPT beneficiary

“CYPT has changed my life, if it wasn’t for their support and opportunities I might still be locked in my room.”
“The combination of Inspiring Scotland’s long term investment and ongoing development support along with the access to real experts via the pro bono pool has supported CYPT’s entrepreneurial and innovative approach to developing social enterprises and creating opportunities for young people.”

— Duncan McKechnie, Performance Advisor, Inspiring Scotland


CYPT will exit the 14:19 Portfolio in 2019 with a strong flow of social enterprise income that will replace Inspiring Scotland’s investment. It will still rely on the financial support from other funders – further grant funding has been secured based on the contribution being made to the Trossachs National Park. However, thanks to Inspiring Scotland’s support, it is now a strong social enterprise and has plans to continue to grow and expand.