Tain Youth Cafe
Tain Youth Cafe opened on 26th March, 1999 with an official opening by Lord Mackay of Clashfern taking place on 15th June, 1999. It occupies premises formerly used by Burgess & Sons, Plumbers, at 17 Stafford Street and is a drop-in-cafe for local teenagers,open 4 evenings a week. The need for a place where youngsters could meet, play pool, listen to music and feel comfortable, had been evident for some time. A group of concerned adults, under the banner of the YMCA, raised money, tapped grants and viewed sites.
It took about 6 years of hard endeavour in the way of seeking funds and finding suitable premises before this project came to fruition. Donations for setting up the cafe eventually came from the Tain Common Good Fund, the Co-op, Morrison Construction and local people.
The YMCA employs Moira Aitken as Youth Development Officer for the East Sutherland and Easter Ross areas. She is employed for 7 hours per week in Tain and has an office in the Youth Cafe building. The Rev. Roddy Macrae is employed by Children in Need to run the cafe and a team of about 12 volunteers man the cafe and undertake the cleaning.
There is no membership as such as this is a “drop-in” cafe but usually there are about 20-30 teenagers in the cafe using the facilities such as the pool table, the Play Station, partaking of the refreshments and snacks available – hot chocolate, soft drinks, crisps, chocolate bars – or just chatting and listening to music. In addition, a form of religious meeting called “Sunday Night Live” takes place on Sunday evenings. This can include small drama pieces on issues of concern to young people presented by a small group of the teenagers themselves. Once a Games Hall is developed, in the store area to the rear of the cafe (hopefully some time in the year 2000), table tennis, indoor football and basketball will be additional activities on offer.
Margaret Urquhart, April, 2000, from information supplied by June Talbot.