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Welcome to the First Youth Space Blog Post!

Welcome to the first ever Youth Space blog post! We'll be updating you all on what we've been up top and what we're working on in a quarterly blog.

It's 2022 and we have a whole new year ahead of us but first, let's look back on the project so far!

The Youth Space team has grown massively with two new Project Assistants Nick and Katie and new Modern Apprentice, Clare.

We managed to achieve some great things in 2021 despite the tricky conditions we were all working through, so here is the team to tell you all about their experiences with Youth Space and our new youth groups...

This photo is from the last Summer roadshow and also Katie's first day!

Hello everyone! It is Otto here, I've been a part of this project since the very beginning back in 2015.

Just learning how to use social media, I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing with my role as a Modern Apprentice in Digital Creative Media.

Youth Space at this time was set up to share Council-run opportunities for young people in Fife.

I explored the length and breadth of Fife for two years on my Megarider plus card before finally learning to drive.

I spent a lot of his working time with other youth work apprentices that were employed at the same time around Fife. There are videos of us all working together!

Lewis, our next apprentice joined. Both myself and Lewis made a lot of films together and started including young people from the youth groups as part of the creative process, teaching them how to use cameras for photography, filmmaking and creating content for the web.

After two years, The Youth Space Fife project said goodbye to Lewis as he got a full-time job with another service.

Soon after, Ben wandered into the Youth Space apprentice scene and took it by storm.

Youth Space were just getting started with their own standalone youth clubs around photography, filmmaking and music creation... And then...

LOCKDOWN happened.

Ben and I were forced to cancel our new groups and try to work together online to engage with young people through the pandemic. This made for some questionable choices in content for social media

At this point Vicky was introduced as the manager of the small team and Ben applied for the Project Officer role that he currently holds!

Over to you, Katie...

Hola, I guess it's my time to take over the blog post writing, so here we go! I joined Youth Space in the height of summer, the glory days, if you will, of the year 2021 (may it be forgotten and never mentioned again).

My first YS day out was at our final Dunfermline Roadshow where I finally got to meet the mysterious Otto and Ben, and at the time, Jordan (never to be forgotten). Now, it should be noted, it was not the height of summer on this occasion as it in fact poured down with rain the entire time. Was it foreshadowing? I think not. It was a wonderful day full of laughter and creativity and my first time since uni working in a group of young people (yes, I do still qualify as young). Needless to say, it was a great introduction to what Youth Space was and what it could become from all the amazing creative inputs, staff and young people included.

Myself and Clare joined at a really amazing time as we were in a position where we could start developing in-person sessions. We spent a lot of time fiddling and fine-tuning the groups and projects we wanted to start with Youth Space and eventually had a solid plan (yes, we had an actual PLAN) of what we wanted to achieve over the next few months.

I don't know about the other workers but being part of a team who were finally able after many months to begin a complete programme of new services was really special. My speciality lies in the world of theatre so I was buzzing to get started on Page2Stage (aka, P2S, not PS2 for copyright reasons). Unfortunately, just due to timing, the project didn’t become the curtain-raiser I had hoped, but the good news is we are moving the venue from Tower House to Kirkcaldy in the New Year, so if you’re free, definitely come along.

However, the other two projects I was part of did take off and I can’t wait to see where we take them this year. My hope is by the end of 2022 we will have had Mr Gordon Ramsay himself featured on the Lomond Pod and that our wonderful creators continue their DND journey while also continuing to produce some amazing work each week.

Hey, it’s Ben now - I hope you didn’t skip past the others to get to my part in the blog... That would be rude, almost as rude as Clare not putting mine at the top of this blog where it belongs anyway, eh?

My first day at Youth Space Fife was on Monday, September 16th, 2019 (the before times as I like to call it). At this point in my life I had some experience in youth work but my background was mainly in freelance photography, which I still do to this day. I was so pleased to get the Modern Apprenticeship because I too was once a teenager looking to be creative and I could have really done with a project like Youth Space coming into my life.

Anyway back to that fateful day,

Otto was to get an insight into what the next two years were going to hold (little did he know I’d go beyond the apprenticeship) when upon entering his car for my first lift into the office,

I took his car’s aux cable and said:

“I’m gonna play this next song every morning, five days a week, for two years and we are gonna hate it so much, but it will be our work song.” Then I played him ‘The Hustle’ by Van Mccoy.. After about two months we agreed to only play it on a Monday morning so as to save us from insanity…

As any Youth Space diehard knows, this spawned a series of videos every Monday (which Clare might subject you to here? We even did a Christmas one!)

Looking back, those first six months of my post were pretty magic.

We were planning groups and started two in separate locations, one in St Andrews and the other in Cowdenbeath.

We even went into our old school assembly to promote them, which quite possibly could have been one of the most surreal, terrifying experiences of my life so far.

Mandatory lockdown came into place days after going to the Youthlink Awards, where we had met so many interesting people and gathered so much inspiration.

It would be a lie to say it didn’t hit us with a good whack… We worked really hard to try and reach out to young people to check they were okay while also trying to remain on top of our own mental health.

In that first lockdown, I was in charge of social media and because there was nothing else to do, I put a lot of energy into it.

We had a lot of mad and often chaotic ideas to try to encourage young people to be creative

(also got the excuse to film myself playing records and air guitar).

We were lucky to have the support of our unseen hero and manager Vicky, who put up with our madness.

After running a Fife-wide competition with lots of interest, we eventually stumbled upon Discord, got a group together online and so ‘Creators’ was born.

Soon after, we were joined by new staff members Siobhan and Jordan with whom we never got to work together as a full team in person because of restrictions :’(

We continued to support young people online with ‘Creators’ through lockdowns, restrictions, openings and closings, running what in-person sessions we could (lots to mention: Galleries, Pride meet, digi training, summer roadshows, activity bags etc).

So much happened during 2021. I finished my apprenticeship and through interview, secured a permanent place here as a project officer.

We then sadly said goodbye, first to Siobhan, and then to Jordan. They brought a bunch to Youth Space including the initial seeds for groups and technical knowledge we just didn’t have.

In summer 21, we were immensely lucky to find the wonderful Katie (and Biscuit, her dog) and hired them right away!

A week later, our new Modern Apprentice Clare started, and I was set to be her mentor (poor Clare).

She has transformed our presence online and is a wee marketing genius and she doesn't even know it (this blog being a prime example).

If finding those two wasn’t enough, our third addition of 2021 is just a legend in his own right, and potentially one of the most creative guys I have ever met. Nick joined right at the end of the year and so we were set as a team.

During that period of hiring the dream team we had immense planning sessions to get in-person groups formed.

So was born, Podcasting, Beath Media Club, Page 2 Stage and many more.

I cannot wait to see what 2022 holds for this job, and I hope you can join us for some of it.

peace x - Ben

Hi, I’m Nick and I’m new to the team, so come with me on a journey through time and space. I’ve had a passion for producing creative content from a young age, with the introduction of the Hi 8 home video camera that my grandmother bought in the early 90s. Myself, my brothers and cousins would act out shorts, from TV news presenters to crew members on a Star Trek episode.

I have found producing creative content is not only a lot of fun but has often helped me through difficult times. So, what does a teenager do when his parents begin a divorce? Builds a full-size Tardis and gets his school friends to act out an episode of Doctor Who. More recently, producing creative content helped me during lockdown while I was furloughed. I wanted to go out and film on location but due to restrictions, got creative and made a series of papier-mâché locations instead.

I began working for Youth Space in December, so I’ve only been able to take part in a couple of sessions so far but I’m super-excited for the year ahead. From the sessions I have been involved with so far, the Dungeons and Dragons campaign has been a highlight. I’m no stranger to role playing so to be able to channel my Dwarven Lighthouse keeper Fen Wick allowed me to relax and remove my own nervousness about my first Creators Discord session. I’m a strong believer in role playing games and was delighted to see how quickly the group took to developing their characters, and in turn creating some great imaginative world building. This has been rewarding and reaffirming to see.

Hello, I am back (Clare) to give my perspective of the Youth Space project!

To be honest, I didn’t really have a clue what this job was when I applied. I didn’t know anything about modern apprenticeships and had never really explored them as an option but I thought it seemed quite up my street, so I gave the application a go and to my surprise, I got the job (I thought I would just be a Sainsbury’s checkout girl forever!). Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I have made.

As Katie, my work mum, said, she and I started at a really good point - we were able to be there for the duration of planning all of our new groups and saw them come to life. I was also very lucky that when I started I was able to go into the office to work so got to meet everyone in person quite early on!

As Ben mentioned, he is my mentor (God help me) which has meant he tends to be on the receiving end of my stupid questions and has witnessed several college meltdowns (sorry, Ben).

This job has been something really new for me, and it has been so refreshing to be part of such a small group and as Vicky calls us, the Young Team. I really do enjoy the freedom I have with social media and am looking forward to doing this blog. I hope you’re all excited to read what we get up to in 2022 as well - please bear with me while I learn how to be a blogger!

Until next time!

The Youth Space Team

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