Owen Hope is a Sessional Playworker at The Yard in Dundee.

Born and brought up in Inverness, Owen is a Geography student at the University of St Andrews. Due to graduate this year, Owen is then moving to Glasgow to study Law.

From the age of 14, Owen volunteered with and was later employed by the Special Needs Action Project (SNAP) in Inverness.  Before university, he also worked with the Birchwood Highland Recovery Centre, a residential facility supporting adults recovering from serious and chronic mental health illnesses.  Owen continues to work there over Christmas and summer holidays.

Aware of The Yard and its role within the special needs community in Scotland, Owen applied to join the team in Autumn 2018

He said, “In my view, there’s a real gender imbalance when it comes to working in childcare, and more needs to be done to promote the sector as a career to boys and men. And, if you’re not looking to work in the sector, you can still support it, perhaps give something back through volunteering. We all owe it to these young people to provide them with the best life they can live, and many of us have skills to offer, skills we might not even know we have! You can really make an impact, even just through a few hours a week.  It’s an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling job!

“Not all children have a male role model in their life and, even for those who do, a lot of dads might struggle to support their sons when they’re having a tough day or just want to vent. I guess, in that way, the whole Yard team have the potential to change their day, which is a real privilege. Growing up is hard enough, and life can be chaotic as a teenager, but way tougher if you’ve got additional needs. For boys who are growing into young men, it’s essential to have male and female staff in the mix, as some boys might not be comfortable going to female staff, and vice versa.  We just want to give the children the best experience, the most fun and lots of laughs and, to meet all of their needs whatever their mindset on any given day, we need a diverse workforce.”