The Route 81 Youth Project grew out of a partnership between the Garelochhead and Portincaple Community Trust (GPCT) and Garelochhead Parish Church who through a survey of local residents in 2002 identified a lack of facilities for the young people of the community as an important issue. To address the situation a sub-committee was set up with the remit to identify what young people themselves wished to see and try to provide some of these facilities. It soon became clear that the amount of time and work needed required a dedicated Trust to work on these issues. In 2004 the sub-committee separated from the GPCT to become the Route 81 Youth Project, charitable status was obtained and the project became a company limited by guarantee and run by a board of volunteer directors who meet monthly.
Since the beginning the project has concentrated on two different issues. First, to provide opportunities for young people to meet together and have fun, second to provide a dedicated youth facility in the community.
In order to begin providing events office and hall space was required, this has been provided from that time free of charge by Garelochhead Parish Church. To run events and organise the project funding was sought to provide dedicated youth workers. Funding has been provided by the Church of Scotland Parish Development Fund and The Tudor Trust. The post was originally job shared by Michelle MacDonald and Pamela Torrens and recently by Michelle and Val Flannigan. The Youth workers put together a wide variety of events both in house and out and about. As the project has grown we are now in need of further staff and in January 2010 Marlon Addriaggio joined the team.
The need for a dedicated youth facility has been a difficult path, both a suitable building and funding needing to be found. We looked at the possibilities of buying Augusto's restaurant and the the possibility of developing the empty Catholic Church on Feorlin Way. Before we had been able to finalize plans the Outdoor Centre closed and was bought by Dunbritton Housing Association. They agreed to sell the building to the project of we could secure funding. Funding was finally put in to place earlier this year and has been provided by The Big Lottery Fund (773,160), Scottish Rural Development Programme (£563,604)and Communities Scotland Wider Role (£30,000).
We have now completed converting the Outdoor Centre into a Community Centre and Youth facility with the name Centre 81.
Find out more about Centre 81 by visiting their website or pop in to speak to one of our friendly staff members. There is always something new happening so keep an eye on the news page of the website or pick up a monthly news letter from the centre or local shops.