Glasgow & West Scotland

Tough realities tackled on the shores of Loch Lomond

Chris Clancey
Image caption Chris Clancey said he would have ended up in jail had he not done the course

A new centre for working with young people from 'tough realities' has opened on the banks of Loch Lomond.

The organisation Columba 1400, which already has a training centre on Skye, will run projects from the new site.

To help finance the youth development work, the building will also be rented out to firms and corporations.

Columba 1400's patron, the Princess Royal, officially opened the centre, with several graduates also in attendance.

Chris Clancey, from Clydebank, has been to Skye to do the Columba 1400 programme twice.

When talking about his life before, he simply said: "Alcohol, drinking, gang fighting."

When asked how different he thought his life would have been had he not completed the programme, he replied: "I'm sure at one point I would have ended up in jail."

Image caption Martyn Aitken plans to one day have his own business

Laura Galbraithe explained what the organisation meant when they said many of the young people came from 'tough realities'.

"Largely the kind of difficulties have been around poverty and sometimes drugs or alcohol, either their own recovery or it's something that's been in their families," she said.

Another Columbia 1400 graduate Martyn Aitken from Hamilton said: "I was a mess, I just had no plans, I didn't care".

Since the course, he has since completed a HND and has plans to go to university and to one day have his own business.

Ms Galbraithe said: "We'd be hoping here that we would be concentrating on perseverance, keeping anything good that you've developed about yourself going back into your community and making sure that whatever you do you're achieving more and more and more both for yourself and for the community."

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