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Clamour for places at Golspie youth club as it relaunches with a party night after a three-year closure


By Caroline McMorran

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After years of Covid isolation, young people in Golspie are flocking in droves to the village’s new youth club.

An opening party night on Friday, November 10, saw a total of 106 children enjoy disco dancing, party games, glow sticks, face painting and snacks.

The youngest members of Golspie Youth Action Project had a ball with balloons, glowsticks and face painting at the opening night party.
The youngest members of Golspie Youth Action Project had a ball with balloons, glowsticks and face painting at the opening night party.

Indeed, Golspie Youth Action Project (GYAP) is in such demand that parents in neighbouring communities are appealing for their children to be allowed to join.

Claire Sutherland, chairperson of the GYAP management committee, said: “I have had messages from parents outside Golspie, but we can’t physically accommodate their requests because of our numbers. At the moment it is only open to children who live in Golspie and district.”

It has been more than three years since the village had a youth club, the previous one having been hit hit by the double whammy of the coronavirus pandemic and also the closure of its meeting place, the dilapidated YMCA building.

Claire saw a opportunity to revive the youth club with the acquisition and renovation of the YMCA by development trust Go Golspie.

Go Golspie development trust took over the lease of the YMCA building and oversaw its renovation.
Go Golspie development trust took over the lease of the YMCA building and oversaw its renovation.

“I went to youth club as a child and absolutely loved it,” she said. “I didn’t want my nieces and nephews to lose out. My oldest niece was desperate to go to the youth club. That was my focus and drive to get it back up and running again.”

She put out a message on social media to gauge local opinion about reopening and calling for volunteers.

“I also went to Golspie High School to talk to the pupils,” she said “They all said they were bored, that there was nowhere to go at night and nothing to do. The kids wanted a youth club.”

Soon the wheels were in motion with a new committee set up – Claire and another committee member were involved in the previous youth club – and a list of 24 volunteers in place.

Some of the 24 volunteers who are the “backbone” of the youth club.
Some of the 24 volunteers who are the “backbone” of the youth club.

The youngest volunteer is Grace Howard (16) who is working towards a volunteer award with Youth Highland. Any young people who would like to volunteer with the youth group can email: GYAP2023@outlook.com

Funding has been provided by SSE's Gordonbush Community Fund and Kilbraur Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund with additional donations also from Golspie Gala, Go Golspie and individuals.

The SSE grant has enabled a youth worker to be employed for two years. Stacey Fraser, who works part-time at Golspie Primary School, has been appointed to the role.

Claire said Christine Ross of Voluntary Groups Sutherland (VGS) had been “incredibly supportive”, helping with governance and compliance issues.

GYAP is now open twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6.15pm-10pm with three separate sessions held each evening for P1-P4; P5-P7 and secondary school age children.

“The kids have made wish lists on what they would like to see and do at the youth club and that is what we plan to spend a lot of our funding on,” said Claire.

The launch party was a joyous occasion with Abbie Cowie from Helmsdale “spinning the decks”.

The youth club committee are now hoping to secure further funding to employ more youth workers and open up the facility to all children. There are plans for a youth café in the future.

“The feedback we have had has been fantastic. The youth club is really needed,” said Claire.


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