Coatbridge youth group pays visit to Bute

The Coatbridge Joint Services Youth Group pictured at Ettrick Bay with Beachwatch Bute ranger Sandra MacMillan.

The Coatbridge Joint Services Youth Group pictured at Ettrick Bay with Beachwatch Bute ranger Sandra MacMillan.

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BUTE played host to a group of teenagers from north Lanarkshire this week as part of a programme aimed at diverting young people away from offending behaviour.

The group, from Coatbridge, were accompanied by Strathclyde Police constable Stuart Robertson and social work and community learning staff from North Lanarkshire Council on their day-long visit.

Their Bute tour began at Ettrick Bay, where they met Beachwatch Bute ranger Sandra MacMillan, who explained the charity’s work in keeping the shores of the island free of marine litter before leading the group in a spot of beach-cleaning.

In the afternoon the party headed to Loch Fad for an introduction to angling – although some members of the group quickly showed they were far from novices with a rod and line!

“We’re about giving young people from some particularly challenging backgrounds a look at life that’s a wee bit different,” Stuart told us.

“The programme is run by the Coatbridge Joint Services Youth Group and caters for the 13-17 year old age range, although this particular party is aged 15 and 16.

“The offending rate among the boys in particular in this group has fallen dramatically since we started working with them – in one target street we’ve reduced crime and anti-social behaviour by 90 per cent.

“It gives them a focus in life, and hopefully also shows them that the police aren’t just bad guys in uniform – the interaction with the young people involved in the programme has been great.”