Anti-social behaviour in Peterhead’s Drummers Corner has plummeted since the opening of a youth cafe earlier this year.
The youth cafe, which is operated by Modo, was established as a result of the successful Choose Peterhead project, with the need for something for young people to do in the evenings high on the agenda.
Choose Peterhead asked the community what it wanted to see improved with the aim of re-establishing the town centre as a destination for social and leisure activities and the recognised hub of community activity in the town.
One of the many challenges faced was the inhospitable and ‘driech’ environment within the town centre - in particular Drummers Corner where there were often problems with drinking and anti-social behaviour.
That led to the challenge of tackling the lack of use of the town centre due to shoppers having the feeling that it was unsafe.
There was also found to be a lack of leisure and social activities, particularly for younger folk.
Speaking to the Buchanie on Thursday, Martin Danizger of Modo said: “One of the things that came out of Choose Peterhead was to try and give young people somewhere they could call their own.
“We had the former Happit shop in Drummers Corner for the Choose Peterhead project and we managed to retain the building so came up with the idea of setting up a youth cafe.
“We opened the cafe in July this year three nights a week and now we’re averaging between 60 and 80 young people each night on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” he said.
“It’s been great and its clearly required. It’s also doing both things that I wanted to achieve - reaching out to young people and providing a safe place for some of the more vulnerable youths.
“We have been working alongside the Police and other services.
“A young police officer usually comes along each night and talks to the youngsters and it gives both sides the opportunity to connect with one another,” he said.
A language cafe has also been set up, again funded by Choose Peterhead, which runs alternate Wednesday evenings and mornings.
Martin said: “At the latest session the Fire Service did their CPR training. It has a mix of people who are not native speakers and those that are and this is something we are very keen to expand on.”
In another development, Drummers Corner is set to undergo a makeover, with plans to revisit the seating arrangements, provide brighter lighting and enhance The Drum.
“We’re hoping to make it a more social and more playful space and make it much brighter and more welcoming,” said Martin.
“One of the things that has really impressed us is that it did feel that there was a lot of enthusiasm and a sense of optimism - something that wasn’t there three or four years ago.
“We are giving young folk somewhere to go and something to do and that was needed, showing that integration can happen, and now we can only build on that,” he added.