Ardrossan Youth Association

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Written by Ardrossan Youth Association on in Lothian, Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, Strathclyde and West

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Despite sometimes being faced with negative stories about young people on TV, in the press and online, there are groups and individuals all across Scotland doing all sorts of amazing things. Young Scot’s Truth About Youth project wants to shine a light on these on these stories to help create a more positive perception of young people!

The Ardrossan Youth Association (AYA) is one group who are challenging negative views. This committee of young people, aged between 12 and 20, manage their own  youth centre.

Their aim is to provide a safe and friendly place for people to meet and develop their skills through a variety of activities, events and groups. Not only does the youth centre serve the local area, AYA are also committed to making sure the young people of Ardrossan have a say in the issues that most affect them.

For more than 20 years young people have been managing the centre and raising the funds needed to keep it running. They liaise with local councillors to ensure the centre meets the needs of the community.

The young people are fully in charge of the management of the centre. As volunteers, they oversee key roles such as;

 - Chairing committee meetings which see the young people plan future activity and manage the future running of the centre.
- Maintain the building
- Managing lets and organise the events diary.
- Cleaning
- Fundraising to maintain centre and cover overhead costs etc
- Pay bills/staff
- Liaise with councillors and local groups/residents around use of the centre and involvement in community activities.

The group, supported by North Ayrshire Council, are motivated by the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of those who live in Ardrossan, regardless of age, and see their work as a chance to show that young people can be a force for positive change.

Chairperson of the group, Robert Heenan, 16 says: “We want to show adults that young people are responsible and capable of the same things that adults are capable of and we want to show people the good side of young people, not just the bad that you hear a lot about. Volunteering in the youth centre, we get to see a lot of good young people that don’t do the sort of things that are said about them in the press.”

Youth worker, Shelley Morton has been encouraged by the young people’s willingness to stand up against stereotypes that exist about them. “When negative stories appear in the press, the group are the first ones to say, ‘that’s not us, we’re not like that.’ They are the first ones to say, ‘look at all the work we’ve done and look at all the things we’ve worked really hard for.’ There is a lot in the press about young people being selfish but they are not like that at all. They work their socks off. They are an example of what young people can achieve if given the chance.”

 

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