An Inverclyde youth organization that has been left homeless following a council funding block has successfully established a base in Greenock town centre.
Ewa and Pawel Jakubowski, who run the 6 Foot Lab initiative which offers a range of activities for young people, have taken over an empty unit on West Blackhall Street with the help of local property company, Bowman Rebecchi.
The Greenock couple were in line for a six-figure sum from the Scottish Government as part of a scheme to invest in vacant and derelict land last year only for the chance to disappear.
They were left in tears after the council intervened to reject the proposal they had drawn up.
The couple had planned to use the money to turn vacant land on Scott Street into a hub for teenagers – many of whom have mental health issues – so they would have a place to meet, hang out art and work on a karting project.
However, they have now overcome the financial setback and are looking forward to a prosperous future at the premises thanks to a grant from the Inverclyde Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund.
Founder Ewa said: “We are so lucky that the grant can be used for the rent of the property, which means we can use the premises for a variety of things.
“We want to establish a place for art and music and also hope to create a safe space where young people can come together and receive support.
“We offer a unique support service to young people, some of whom have mental health problems, to support them and help them make their life choices.
“This is incredible news.
“We are thrilled to finally be able to put this in place and are so grateful to Bowman Rebecchi and the fund for making this happen.”
The project will be funded until December 2022 and Ewa hopes to apply for further grants to allow the lease to be extended.
Members Grace Dollard and Thomas Boyle are delighted that the club has its own base.
Musician Grace, 19, said: “It’s a great place to come and practice my music.
“It’s nice to have a permanent place where my friends and I can come.”
Andrew Bowman, who helped the band establish the base in the vacant premises, added: “We are delighted to be able to support Ewa and the team in establishing a base on West Blackhall Street.
“We’re only too happy to help get projects like this off the ground and it’s great to see a vacant space in the city center being put to use again.”