A charity set up to help the youth of Arbroath has celebrated its 20th anniversary.
The Community Alcohol Free Environment (C.A.F.E) Project, on Brothock Bridge, opened its doors on October 26, 1996, and to celebrate the milestone birthday there were darts and pool tournaments last Thursday night.
The project, which is run by small team of workers, volunteers and a board of trustees, is a drop-in centre for children aged eight to 18 and runs a series of after-school clubs, providing a safe, alcohol-free environment for youngsters. It is also a space for adults with disabilities from across Angus and community groups.
Chairman, retired Sheriff Norrie Stein - who sat on the bench at Arbroath Sheriff Court - said: “The C.A.F.E. Project has made it into its 21st year and it’s still as vibrant and necessary as ever.
“As a 15-year-old girl confessed: ‘without it, we’d be on the streets getting into bother, drinking and doing drugs’. That was a common theme of a recent survey which also disclosed that it was seen as being safe, warm, fun and a great place to chill out and make friends.
“It operates 50 weeks a year, five days a week, morning, afternoon and evening with more than 25,000 attendances a year.
“A particular focus over the years has been on helping those who, for one reason or another, such as neglect, abuse and bullying, have been struggling. A popular tailor-made programme of activities has been devised to promote skills, self-esteem and confidence. Healthy eating and substance issues where necessary are also addressed.
“The project’s work has been recognised by the Scottish Parliament and by invitations to address national conferences on alcohol and drug misuse and violence reduction.
“A remarkable feature has been the young people’s courtesy, good manners and consideration for others and willingness to help, with increasing numbers anxious to volunteer. A 15-year-old boy summed it up quite neatly: “We treat the C.A.F.E. as if it were our own home.’”