Future of youth centre in doubt

The Vault in Glengate, whose doors will be closed until further notice.
The Vault in Glengate, whose doors will be closed until further notice.

A Kirriemuir youth centre is facing an uncertain future after the behaviour of users forced organisers to close its doors.

Although the closure of The Vault in Glengate is currently temporary, a decision on its long-term future will be taken in the new year.

And chairman Murray David pulled no punches when he said the move has been prompted by the destructive, abusive and dangerous behaviour of some of the young people who used the facility.

He added that The Vault, run by volunteers, has been “dogged” by problems since it opened earlier this year and that the decision has been taken “with a heavy heart”.

After years of planning and uncertainty, The Vault finally opened in February this year to offer a drop-in facility for the town’s young people as a safe haven for them to call their own. But Mr David said this has become increasingly difficult due to the youngsters’ actions.

He said: “Being in close proximity to a busy street the drop-in facility very quickly became a dangerous place for youths to be. Disrupting neighbours, running across a busy street and generally putting lives at risk was not at all envisaged and no matter how many times the children were told they would not take care on the street.

“A new policy was introduced requiring the youths to sign in and out – once out they were out for the night – so the drop-in facility had gone, but this only led to some exceptionally bad behaviour within the building; including damage to the fabric of the building and lack of respect for peers or volunteers.”

Mr David went on to say that structured activities such as pool, basketball and games consoles were also introduced to complement the existing drop-in arrangements.

He continued: “It became increasingly clear that no matter what was in place it wasn’t what the youths wanted.

“Angus Council provided support in the form of two community officers who came in to work with the children but this too did not result in any respect from the youths.

“Kirriemuir Youth Project was responsible for the children whilst in the building but increasingly became the target of complaints regarding children on the street and in the town centre.

“So it is with a heavy heart the doors have had to close until a decision on the future is taken in the New Year.”

Local councillor Iain Gaul also this week said the young people, and their parents, should “be ashamed” of what they have done to The Vault and to the town.

He continued: “They’ve vandalised just about everything that was provided for them, they’re rude, have few boundaries and are abusive to the volunteers.

“Why should people volunteer to be abused by 13, 14 and 15-year-olds who should know better?

“The young people involved should be ashamed of themselves for what they’ve done to this town.

“They’ve also been causing issues in the vicinity such as graffiti, shouting and bawling in the street and throwing pool balls

“A lot of hard work was put in and it’s just been abused. I’m also sure that it’ll be the same kids who’ll now say that there’s nothing to do.

“To say the volunteers are disappointed is an understatement.”