Since 2012 we have supported 14-25 year olds with our main focus being the administrative area known as Lochaber in the Western Highlands (population around 22,000) which includes many small isolated villages and hamlets and the town of Fort William (population 9,800). Based in Fort William we have an office with training facilities, a high street shop used as a music and arts venue and an adapted bus with music studio and learning/social space which is taken out to remote areas and young people can socialise in a warm bright place with friends, jam for fun in the music studio, learn to play an instrument and record music. Short workshops are run on music topics, personal development and any issues which emerge from conversations with young people, e.g. perception, bullying. Young people work with staff to devise projects and programmes of interest and some are run by participants with support from staff.
Our youth-work approach revolve around the principles of informal education – using every opportunity as a learning opportunity. All our practical work is underpinned by one-to-one support. This can be think-it-through conversations for people trying to fully understand a situation or relationship; mentoring for individuals experiencing personal or family difficulties or challenged by a college course.
All our activities are aimed at enabling 14-25 year olds to build their resilience and fulfil their potential in a rather difficult area. The challenges in this work include those which relate to all young people making the transition into adulthood – confidence, identity, peer pressure. However, the physical, social and economic community of the Highlands could easily have a negative effect on their ability to thrive and achieve their potential. These factors range from extreme geographical isolation to the fact Employment opportunities are narrow and jobs can be temporary and low paid and mainly in tourism.
Heart & Soul Event: As part of our Partnership working the project supported a Health and Wellbeing event, carried out in partnership by the Lochaber Community Partnership.
The Xmas Gathering 2019: The project was requested by the Fort William Town Team, to host a local band for the local gathering, for a Christmas light switch on. The project had a chance to showcase a young band of 6 young people.
Self-Awareness Exhibition: The project and young people organised an event to show case their craft work, over a period of 6 weeks. This exhibition was designed and hosted by young people exhibiting their progress to their family and friends. The young people designed posters and invitations, as well as organising the exhibition boards.
Fundraising Gig: This event was carried out February 2020, and it involves the young band organising a fundraising event for the project. This event was designed to bring young musicians together from around Lochaber. The event included young acts from Mallaig, Kinlochleven and the young band who have been supported by the project. This event was broadcast live on Nevis Radio and the Buzz Bus attended.
Live Radio Broadcast: This event had been organised by the project to give a young band of 3 individuals, a new and different experience. This event was designed to encourage the young band on the etiquette of playing in a professional setting. The event was live streamed from the Radio set and can be seen on YouTube, and on both Nevis Radio and Buzz Project’s Facebook pages.
Guitar Clinic: Weekly (Thursday evenings) drop in clinic, a volunteer would demonstrate to any young person who requested repairs on their own guitars. This also allowed young people to drop in to hear tip and techniques on looking after their instruments, or hearing tales of the history of making and repairing guitars.
Guitar lessons (fortnightly online lessons) these free sessions give young people wishing to learn a new skill.
Various Drop-in sessions: These Studio 2/Bus sessions are important as they are not only a safe place to go and have something to do, they also allow young people to socialise with friends, try something they may not have tried before, or hear about any forthcoming workshops. These sessions also allow young people to build relationships with Buzz Staff. The drop in sessions regularly, give young people a clear path to receiving one to one sessions with a youth worker.
Open Session One to One’s: These are Think-it-Through conversations for young people trying to fully understand a situation or relationship through the Studio 2 space. Question of the Month is a very successful path to discuss any local issues. These discussions can build trust and open important conversations.
Detached Teams: Designated to move around the town on bikes to visit “hot spots” of gathering young people within specific areas. These areas are usually identified through local knowledge or direct requests to workers go to a specific area. These teams are looking to engage with young people in their own environment, and provide face to face support.