About Hot Chocolate Trust

Hot Chocolate Trust supports young people in Dundee to take responsibility for their own lives and their impact on others so that they can live fuller and healthier lives.

The charity was founded by members of The Steeple Church, who began talking to young people hanging-out on the grass outside the church.  Relationships were built over cups of hot chocolate and trust began to grow between the young people and youth workers. Over time many shared their experiences including bullying, family breakdown and mental health issues.

The founders asked, ‘if you had a wee bit of space within the building, what would use it for?’  Young people were encouraged to develop and sustain their own activities.  The variety of opportunities that resulted – from youth work sessions and individual support, to residential weekends and an intensive summer programme – matches the diversity of young people involved.

The charity in action

"I was kicked out of my homeless unit because I wasn’t engaging with their assessment process. I just couldn’t, because of my state of mind at that time. They tried to find somewhere else for me, but I couldn’t afford the other options. So I had to leave with all my stuff in bin bags. I walked around the city overnight, and on the Saturday afternoon I came down to Hot Chocolate and spoke to the team. I didn’t know what to expect, I just needed help. I managed to find a friend to crash with, but you guys got in touch with loads of places to help me find somewhere proper. Now I have my own flat and it’s going well. But I’d still be crashing on my friend’s sofa if it wasn’t for Hot Chocolate."

Ewan, 18.

"When I first came to Hot Chocolate, I was terrified. I’d been bullied badly at school so I was really withdrawn. I’d sit in the corner of the Chilling Room not speaking to anybody. I’d been dragged in by a friend and I stayed because it was dry and warm. But over time I started to open up. I started doing 1-1s with Lauren. It was a safe space to talk, and I wasn’t judged. I gained a lot of confidence in that time. My time here feels like a firework: it started small and exploded into something beautiful."

Verena, 17. 
Young adults at the Hot Chocolate Trust

Hot Chocolate Trust and CAF Resilience

The Hot Chocolate Trust has grown over the last 17 years – from a part-time worker and three volunteers sitting on the grass talking to young people, to 15 staff and over 40 volunteers. 

The CEO sought help from CAF Resilience because of concerns that the pace of growth and future opportunities – driven by the ambitions and needs of young people, as well as requests from other organisations – could “undermine the quality of work” and break down the ethos that the project is built on. 

Hot Chocolate Trust was one of the first organisations to be supported through CAF Resilience.  Through our grant and support, we have helped the charity to build an infrastructure and systems that are fit for purpose, and will see them into the future, underpinning their transformative work with young people.

Director of Hot Chocolate Trust, Dave Close, speaks to us about taking part in the CAF Resilience programme.

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