Moray Council is evaluating what facilities and activities young people require in the modern era and 'new normal'
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YOUNG people are being asked what they would like to see in Forres - years after a youth club in the centre of town was shut down.
Opened in 2015, Forres Area Youth Zone (FAYZ), upstairs at Forres House Community Centre, used £10,000 in support partly from Moray LEADER and Budge Trust grants, to provide a modern, safe environment with darts board, pool and table-tennis tables, new furniture, music equipment, a smart board and an information plasma screen.
Over following years, FAYZ got new flooring, lighting, audio, visual and play equipment. And a new kitchen was installed providing attendees with their own café.
Run by Moray Council youth workers, FAYZ encouraged local pupils of different age groups to attend over three evenings-a-week and was transformed into a space for children and families during the day.
However, a council spokesperson confirmed the facility was closed in 2018 “due to reducing number of attendees”.
She said: “Numbers had dwindled to just three to five attending on a semi-regular basis. This coincided with a shift in focus for the team to schools and curriculum-based work. Young people want community-based provision, particularly as we emerge from restrictions. Our recent Re-Connect programme aimed to find out what they would want in their community, be that a youth club or something different. It’s important that young people are involved in developing activities and services in their area and that they are supported to take their ideas forward.”
The FAYZ space was re-used by displaced council employees when council offices at Auchernack used for social work were closed.
The spokesperson said: “The space is flexible and how it is used will depend on service needs at any given time.”
The FAYZ resources have been stored and distributed to community groups to support work with young people.
The spokesperson said: “ Electrical equipment such as kettles and toasters were donated to the Forres Academy Hub for breakfast club and after school activities, as were pots, pans, cutlery, plates, etc. The Smart board was also moved to the Hub. Games and crafts materials have been stored and used with youth groups. Musical equipment was given to the young musicians who raised funds for it.”
Moray Councillor Lorna Creswell (Forres, Independent) ran projects for young people including ‘Hi-Jinx’ at the community centre in the 1980s and supported FAYZ.
On its closure, she said: “Everyone needs friendships and places to meet and this has become more evident during the pandemic. I’m glad there was investment in a recent youth programme and wait to see what new places are found.”
Moray Council youth workers are currently conducting a survey regarding opportunities and activities for young people in the area - visit