Projects giving young Scots the skills and confidence to embrace the future share Young Start grants totalling £917,533

Run by the Big Lottery Fund Scotland, Young Start awards money from dormant bank and building society accounts that have seen no customer-initiated activity for at least 15 years. One of the aims of the Young Start fund is to help prepare young people for the world of work. The money supports a range of projects that help young people aged eight to 24 reach their full potential.

The Safety Zone Community Centre, in Bargeddie, Glasgow, help educate the local neighbourhood in drug and alcohol related problems, and work to establish a stable, caring and valued community.

The Music Cafe: WELL SOUND project is run by Safety Zone. It’s a community cafe for young people in the area. Thanks to today’s Young Start award of £45,604, they will be able to extend their current opening hours on a Friday evening where young people will take responsibility for running the cafe’s youth night. WELL SOUND offers young people a safe place to meet and enjoy social activities. The project will now offer a two year programme of music and cooking activities with volunteers being trained in food preparation and hygiene.

One young man who has benefited from attending the Safety Zone Community Centre is Tony McDonald.

Tony joined Safety Zone in February 2011 when he took part in creating a music DVD about issues young people have with alcohol. Following that, Tony completed their healthy eating cookery courses as well as a number of peer education health workshops. 

Tony lives with his Gran and is her main care provider. At that time his responsibilities at home were drastically affecting his attendance at school. To help him, a Community Learning & Development Worker from his school made sure support was in place for Tony to attend his classes and set up space for him at The Safety Zone Community Centre where he could also study.

In the last year, his attendance and studies have improved enormously and Tony now has six Standard Grades to his name and aims to complete his fifth year.

Tony’s enthusiasm for working with young people has led to him volunteering with some of the younger age groups. He’s now one of the most active volunteers in the Centre, organising and delivering events, workshops and activities. Tony’s completed several training courses and been awarded the Silver Duke of Edinburgh Millennium Volunteer Award. His confidence and social skills have grown and his future goal is to become a youth worker.

The WELL SOUND Cafe project will be in good hands as Tony will be one of its peer educators and is taking a food handlers course so he can also work in the cafe.

Full details on the rest of the successful projects can be found here

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