G15 Youth Project
The G15 Youth Project has been operating in Drumchapel, where 45% of the population is under the age of 25, since 1997. Drumchapel is an area of Glasgow known for its large housing estate built in the 1950s by Glasgow Corporation to deal with overcrowding in the city. It is one of four large post-war housing schemes in Glasgow and they all have similar social problems – high unemployment, drug addiction and alcoholism. The G15 Youth Project provides information, advice and support to young people living in Drumchapel aged 12 – 25 and is managed by the young people themselves.
It's a project that cares for young people. It's run by young people for young people.
The Executive Management Committee make the decisions on how the project is run and they employ a Project Co-ordinator, Joyce Bell, and two detached youth workers, Robert Macklin and Peter Divers, to provide help and support. The young people receive management committee training and local community training both from their local Money Advice Centre and from their peers, also members of the project, studying Community Development at university.
Project Co-ordinator, Joyce Bell, says being involved in the project helps build the young people’s confidence and their self-esteem. It also helps give them sense of pride in their community. ‘It’s got a stigma’, says Joyce, ‘And I just challenge that all the time’. The G15 project is all about investing in the young people of Drumchapel. ‘It’s not a target, tick box thing for us, because we care, we care about what goes on in their lives. We’re probably an extended family to some of the young people. A lot of them don’t have family support from anybody. They’ve never been encouraged or supported at any levels in their lives. They may be living in alcoholic homes, with addiction or maybe they’re hidden carers and we say, ‘Where do you get time for you?’, and they come down to the project and we get to know them and it builds from there.’
There's no room in this project for anyone who wants to come in and do their hours and walk away because you can't.
Events run by the project include a youth club, music classes, art classes, dance classes, photography workshops, access to computer games, cinema nights, a ‘Girls’ Night In’ focusing on body image and personal presentation, alcohol and drugs awareness sessions, sexual health sessions, Childrens’ Rights Project sessions, and outdoor activities during the summer including mountain biking and go-karting.
Twenty two year-old Charles Bailey is the Chairperson of the G15 Management Committee and is in his second year of studying Community Development at university. Being involved in the project has helped build his confidence and, when he graduates from university, he wants to become a youth worker and help people living in deprived areas similar to Drumchapel.
The young people are actively involved in fundraising events for the project which has had its funding cut by 28% over the past 5/6 years. Project Co-ordinator Joyce Bell recognises that they could do more to publicise their achievements. ‘We’re not the best people for blowing our own trumpet, because we’re not very good at doing it. We don’t see what we do as spectacular, we’re doing our job. We’re doing what we’re employed to do. We care and we’re trying to make a difference to these young people’s lives.’