It has been a very busy few weeks for the young people of Alness as a number of exciting projects have been taking place.
On Tuesday 18th of January a group of 9 young people accompanied by 2 adults travelled to Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh to present their findings on a survey they had been working on to a large audience of invited guests. The 5th year group had been working with the local Youth Development Officer Janette Douglas and Jennifer Taylor (full time youth worker in The Place) on a project for Young Scot commissioned by the Scottish Government. They were 1 of only 7 groups Scotland wide who had been working on the investigation titled “Peer led approaches to substance misuse”
The Alness group interviewed over 120 local young people aged 12-26yrs and collated all the evidence and used it to make a film with the support of Phoenix VP. They also designed a handout with a breakdown of all the statistics. The project culminated in a visit to Dynamic Earth to present their findings and to get feed back from a panel of 5 experts in their field. These were John Somers, Drugs Policy Team, Scottish Government; Rohana Law, Development Officer, Scottish Peer Education Network; Siobhan Mackay, Alcohol Policy Team, Scottish Government; Elaine Maclennan, Police Constable, Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency; and finally Nicole Rougvie, Youth Commissioner, Youth Commission on Alcohol.
The group were very nervous standing up and presenting their findings and introducing the film but they were amazing and when their film was being shown you could have heard a pin drop. The feedback from the panel was excellent saying that they had been very keen to get a group from the Highlands so that they could compare our problems and views and they congratulated the group on a very powerful film.
The group, who are all using the experience to work towards their Silver Youth Achievement Award, are not going to rest on their laurels as they are using their findings to work closely with the staff of Alness Academy at ways of improving the current PSE programme and also to get members of the group “skilled up” to deliver workshops to other young people within the school and local youth clubs.
Alness “Lock In”
Saturday the 29th January saw the Averon Centre once again playing host to over 50 young people who were given the opportunity to dip in and out of various classes and activities. The Lock In is the result of strong partnership working within the town which has led to the development of the monthly event. Sonny Rhind, Manager of the Averon Leisure Centre, Janette Douglas, local Youth Development Officer and Jill Sharp, Principal teacher of PE work on a variety of different projects provided for the young people within the town and the Saturday night event just developed out of a number of ideas that were floating about.
The project has been planned and developed by young people themselves and some young people also help in the delivery of some of the classes with additional support from the excellent Averon staff and Alness YouthWork team. The idea is to “hand over” the Averon to the young people one night a month with them deciding what classes and workshops should be on offer and this has been a huge success. Saturday was the 3rd event and it is going from strength to strength with loads of fresh ideas being bandied. The name originated from an idea that the young people could actually be “locked in” one night from 9pm until 9am the next morning and have the opportunity to use the Averon throughout the night which much to our distress is not an idea the young people are letting go of lightly so if you see the local youth workers heading to the Averon clutching their jammies and toothbrush you will know the young people have won the argument!
Midnight Football League
The Place Youth Club has been in the very fortunate position of having the opportunity to run our second year of Midnight football. Not as the name suggests at midnight but from 9-11pm in the Averon Centre. This gives the young people the opportunity to hang out in the youth club before making their way over to the Averon to compete against each other in some fast paced games. Again this is a strong partnership between the local Youth Work Team, Peter Budge, Football Development Officer and the Averon Leisure Centre. Funding for this project comes courtesy of the Cashback For Communities Fund.