Kin-nections visited the KYTHE hub beside the Health Centre on the Muirs to catch up with Senior Youth Worker, Barry Dougall, to learn about the breadth of initiatives this small organisation is undertaking to reach out to our young folk in Kinross-shire. The hub itself is in a state of flux, with lots of renovations going on to change it from its previous existence as a shop to a welcoming meeting place for young people.

Barry is supported by part-time Youth Worker Gillian Shackleton together with volunteers and a strong management team. Kinross Parish Church, along with some of the other local churches, financially supports KYTHE, recognising its value in our community.

To give a flavour of the groups on offer, SupaClubs run at Kinross and Milnathort Primary Schools, TalkBack is held at our Church Centre, a Fitness Club takes place at the High School, and Chilln’Chat meets at the hub.

Lots of other fun activities take place too – drop-ins and Altitude youth clubs in the hub and Crook of Devon Village Hall, band camp and holiday club.

These clubs are complemented by one-to-one pupil support. We are all too aware of the pressures young people have in their lives and of the importance of good mental health. A young person’s emotional or spiritual journey rarely follows a straight trajectory with an end point clearly and neatly following on from a start point, and this is the skill of a professional Youth Worker to actively listen and respond to the individual’s needs at a time and in a way that meets their needs. Equally, it is recognising when a person may need greater support so signposting to professional help.

Barry works closely with stakeholders: “We need to be able to measure what we do, but the number of contacts (which has grown 2.5 fold in the past year) does not demonstrate the qualitative aspects of our work, so KYTHE is using a database to capture these key elements of our interactions.”

The scope of potential outreach is boundless, but all initiatives thrive on the energy and commitment of volunteers. Barry urges members of Kinross Parish Church to consider if they could support KYTHE by volunteering their time and skills – “This is a great way to serve your community by seeing young people flourish. And I particularly ask men to consider if they could get involved.

“Importantly, and underlining everything, is that we are trying to show the love of Christ in all that we do. Your prayer support is always welcomed.”