ANGUS Provost Ruth Leslie Melville visited the CAFE Project recently to congratulate the Angus Community Ambassador for 2011, Norrie Stein.
“The difference the Café Project has made to the lives of countless young people in and around Arbroath is immeasurable,” said the Provost.
“However, equally immeasurable is the commitment, expertise and dedication provided by Norrie Stein to establish and fund the Café Project and ensure its continued success.”
Norrie Stein became a member of the steering group behind the Café Project in 1996, when he was the local sheriff.
“I wanted to do something to reduce the high numbers of young people who were coming in front of me,” said Norrie, who retired in early 2011.
“Everyone needs a helping hand – and some hope – every now and again.”
Norrie explained to the Provost that the Café Project was established to help the young people of Arbroath make positive choices, feel needed and be safe.
He said: “I’m a great believer in giving young people a chance.
“A young girl summed it up perfectly when she said to me, ‘If it weren’t for the Café Project, we’d be out on the streets, getting involved in things we don’t want to get involved in.’”
Sixteen years since it first opened its doors, the Café Project continues to support the young people of Arbroath and, thanks to national recognition of the initiative’s groundbreaking work, is indirectly helping young people throughout Scotland.
“If not for Norrie Stein and the Café Project, there would be far fewer youth development programmes in Scotland,” said the Provost. “The Café Project leads the way.”
With over 16,000 attendances per year, the Café Project provides a range of employment, education and health services for people under the age of 25 and adults and young people with disabilities.
Norrie explained that he felt very humbled to have been awarded the Angus Community Ambassador Award for his contribution to the Café Project.
He added: “So many remarkable people – young and old - are involved in the Café Project.
“This award is also for every one of them.”