The Two Lochs Project is new a charity which has been set up to reach out to teenagers in the area, specifically those in the villages outside of Kinlochleven; Duror, Kentallen, N. Ballachulish, Onich, Ballachulish and Glencoe. Hazel Batty is the youth worker who moved into the area last year (2008). The project, which also aims to support pupils in Kinlochleven High school, is run by a committee made up of representatives from each of the Church denominations around the Loch Leven and Loch Linnhe and other interested people.
The initiative which gave birth to the project was started over 3 years ago by Archie Spears, minister of Nether Lochaber church, who had a vision to reach out to young people. Funding was raised which has opened the way to appoint Hazel to youth worker post. Hazel Batty
I’m Hazel Batty the new youth worker for the project. I moved into the area at the end of August and have spent my first few months meeting many different people; learning about the area and getting to know some of the teenagers. Already we have been able to get some groups going which you can read about over the page! I grew up in a village near Lochgilphead and went to a rural secondary school, then moved to Edinburgh to study and ended up working with young people there for a further five years, before moving back to the West Coast.
Kinlochleven High School
KHS (Kinlochleven High School) has a role of 146 pupils, with more joining all the time! It’s a busy and active place with pupils involved in activities on a local, national and even international level.
The Two Lochs Project has an office in the school (between the head and deputy head teacher’s offices to keep the youth worker in line!) This makes it very easy to chat to the teenagers at breaks and lunchtimes. There have also been opportunities to join the shinty teams as they travel to matches throughout the Highlands; regularly support pupils in a couple of drama lessons and liaise with learning support and guidance staff.
Over the course of the term there will also be opportunities to assist some RMPE lessons and pilot a Religious Observance assembly as well as helping out in other ways in the life of the school.
“I’m bored” is the common cry from 1st and 2nd years at lunchtime. Guidance staff were also concerned about how some pupils were fitting in. This led to us establish [space].
On a Thursday lunchtime it’s the place to be. There’s space to chat, chill or play some games for anyone who wants to come along, and with over 18 pupils turning up on the first week it shows that many appreciate the space! We are now planning to open the community centre one lunchtime a week.
The Leven Centre
If you haven’t been into the Leven centre in Kinloch recently, it’s worth a visit as it has changed a lot. The Two Lochs have been made very welcome there and I work alongside Sue Watson (the council youth worker) very regularly.
Until Christmas the 2 Lochs Project is helping with the Hub youth club on a Thursday night and will continue to help with other youth activities that go on there. In November the school car park is going to be transformed by a floodlit 5-a-side football pitch aimed at teenagers to play on. This will give teenagers a positive option on one Saturday night. If you would like to help out please get in touch as we will need a few adults to make this possible.
Out in the Villages
Ballachulish Drop In
In October the Friday Ballachulish Drop-In re-started in the village hall. This is staffed by an enthusiastic team of parents and was started in last November by Sue Watson. After a break over the summer it’s up and running again for S1-6 from 7.30-10pm. Teenagers come along for a variety of active games ranging from badminton to dodgy ball or a place to sit down and chat with friends and munch some pizza. It has been very well attended by the young people especially now it’s dark in the evenings. If you would like to help out or know of anyone who could get involved please let us know.
In Our Churches
I’m slowly working my way around the 12 churches in the area as a way to meet some of you and to thank you for your support in getting the project going. If you would like to support the youth work by volunteering to help with a group (it could be one hour a week), coming along to share a skill or hobby with the teenagers or even baking something tasty please speak to your Minister or get in touch directly.
There are a couple of groups that are in need of some extra volunteers and it wouldn't have to be a weekly commitment.
Thanks for all your prayers for the young people of the area, monthly prayer news will soon be sent to each of the congregations. If you would like to be sent this directly please let me know.
Partner Us in Prayer!
When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush He revealed His Name “I am who I am” or “Jehovah” (Exodus 3:15). A literal translation of this Name is the God who is real, present and active. Which is great to know as we pray to the God of love who is able and wants to help with our daily lives. Thank you for your prayers for the young people in the area and my work in particular. Already there has been many times when I have been aware of them and seen God answer in specific ways. As you seek God in prayer I pray that you will be conscious of Him drawing close and that you will get to know Him more. Below are some specific things to pray for to get you started:
- Pray for the teachers that God will give them the energy and enthusiasm they need in the midst of a busy term, give thanks for them and Mr McGilp as he leads the school.
- Give thanks for the opportunities that Hazel has already had in talking to teenagers please pray that God will lead her as she talks to young people, that she will have wisdom in knowing what to say. Pray that God will give her favour with the young people and break down barriers.
- Thursday lunchtimes (1-1.45pm) [SPACE] happens, pray that the young people who turn up will find the space that they need. Give thanks for the adults who help with this.
- Youth clubs: Thursday nights, the Hub in Kinlochleven; Friday nights, The Ballachulish Drop-In. Please pray that God’s peace would be over these meetings and young people would be able to come along, be themselves and enjoy being there.
- Give thanks for the new ideas of a group in Duror/Kentallen and for those wishing to explore their faith, please pray for smooth organisation in getting these started and that the teenagers who need to hear about them will do. Pray that more volunteers will come forward to help.
- Pray that God will give the committee and Hazel wisdom in knowing what to do and when.
Anyone who would like further information about the Two Lochs Project should contact:
Justin Richards by e-mail.