The Pitstop hit by major funds blow

THE Pitstop youth project has been dealt a body blow with the news it has been unsuccessful in its funding application for £63,000 from the Enterprise Growth Fund.

The money had been earmarked for upgrading the facilities in Academy Street which would have enabled it to open six nights a week and have the potential to be hired out to other organisations.

Now there are fears the services offered to the young people of Forfar may have to be cut back, although the committee which runs the facility has pledged they will continue to look for additional sources of funding.

They are now hoping to gain the backing of local businesses and tradesmen willing to give up their time and skills to help take the project, which caters for youths aged from 10 to 21, forward.

The Pitstop project had applied for £63,000 to the Enterprise Growth Fund to upgrade its facilities to provide a juice bar in the upstairs area, as well as activities such as pool, computers, games and a chance to meet others in a really smart place.

Unfortunately, along with many other organisations seeking these funds, it was unsuccessful and did not get any money at all.

Reacting to the news Sylvia Breen, Pitstop development worker said: “The worry is now that we may have to scale back the services that we offer young people and that would be a terrible loss to both them and the community in general.”

Lynne Devine, a committee member, added: “We thought we had ticked all the boxes, since this project would have provided employment, training opportunities for some young people and would have given us ongoing income for the project, instead of always looking for grants.

“It is very disappointing. We thought we might at least have got part funding for our plans.

“We are talking about quite a space in the upstairs part of The Pitstop. We were looking at new flooring and carpets, a Juice Bar which would have been open six nights a week, and a kitchen.

“We would also like to insulate the building to save on fuel costs. Part of the £63,000 was also to be used for a salary for the juice bar manager. We were going to employ somebody who could train up the young people to gain their food hygiene certificates and things like life skills, cooking and budgets.

“This can all still be done but at a lower level in comparison to what we had planned. We had hoped to carry out improvements so we can hire The Pitstop out during the day to other local organisations which might need a place to meet. That would provide us with an income stream.”

Whilst all those involved with The Pitstop, which currently opens four nights a week, are disappointed with the funding knock-back, the Chair of the committee, Stuart Mackie, is determined the renovations will go ahead.

He has pledged further applications will be made, and hopes that some local companies may be able to help out in some way.

Letters will now be sent out to local businesses in the hope of gaining some financial support, and it is also hoped that local tradesmen will come forward to help with any renovation work.

Lynne continued: “We can still do this. We are determined to do this as the young people want it so much. We have young people who are doing their Ready to Work programme so hopefully local tradesmen would get involved and be willing and able to exchange skills.”

Anyone who can help in any way is asked to contact Lynne by e-mailing lynnedevine@talktalk.net