November 2 has officially been declared Scotland’s ‘‘Happiness Day’’ and the Linlithgowshire Journal and Gazette has launched its very own Smile Awards in support of the event.
Last week we revealed Eric Ross, the hugely popular janitor at Grange Primary School in Bo’ness as our first nominee.
And, this week, the spotlight falls on Linlithgow and the hugely influential Linlithgow Young People’s Project.
Based at premises in the Vennel, LYPP was founded in 1990 and has grown into a vital and respected part of the social fabric of the town.
Through a web of initiatives it works to support young people of secondary school age and, at the moment, has a staff of four including project manager Pam Mellstrom, senior youth worker Elaine Kinloch, rural development worker Chris McCreedy and Graeme Lacey (Lounge co- ordinator).
Originally known as the ‘‘Power Station’’, the project’s drop-in centre was re-branded ‘‘Lounge’’ in 2009 and two years ago this month, the full-time staff moved across the High Street from Bryerton House into dedicated office facilities adjacent to the Lounge.
Said Pam Mellstrom: ‘‘We’re delighted at this nomination and wondering if we’ll find out who it was who put the project forward.’’
Elaine Kinloch talked us through the work of LYPP and highlighted key projects including ‘‘Romance Academy’’ - not a dating agency at the town’s secondary school, but a structured personal healthcare programme.
Although the most visible part of LYPP may be the drop-in sessions at The Lounge, these are only the tip of the iceberg of a whole host of schemes, some of which are being rolled out into Bridgend where the organisation also has a growing presence.