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Showcasing a virtual future…

MANY OF its residents still see the Dundee suburb of Stobswell as a village, which it was until the growth of Dundee’s jute industry during the Industrial Revolution demanded additional housing for workers in the nineteenth century. But how many of those proud villagers, and other Dundonians, are aware of another revolution taking place in their midst, courtesy of a truly ground-breaking charitable organisation operating in the heart of the Stobbie?

Showcase the Street (StS) is a social enterprise, set up by former police officer Fergus Storrier, which aims to “make things like dance, fashion and sport and all those cultural subjects affordable for young people and accessible for everyone”. Based in three converted warehouse buildings in Dundonald Street, StS’s facilities include two 3G indoor football pitches, two dance studios and an indoor roller hockey rink. Fully qualiied staff offer classes in dance, ranging from ballet to street, and musical theatre, while the Stevie Campbell Football Academy provides professional football coaching. There is also a range of community-focused tenants based at StS – the Scottish Football Association has its regional office here, Baby Sensory Dundee operates classes and parties for babies, and Mini Professors runs science classes for children. Many local groups make use of the affordable facilities for a wide range of daytime, evening and weekend activities, and also to socialise in the tartan Coffee House.

Many local groups make use of the afordable facilities for a wide range of daytime, evening and weekend activities

StS originated as a spin-of from an early 90s Arbroath project, Locals Against Drug Abuse (LADA), which came about in response to problems caused by under-occupied young people ‘hanging around’ and ‘causing trouble’. LADA initially developed one of Scotland’s first ever drop-in centres, which was where Fergus got involved as a volunteer. At the time, through his ‘day job’ as a community safety officer with Tayside Police, he was well aware of the importance of providing young people with facilities and opportunities in helping to prevent crime. “My background is that I’ve worked in the youth justice system for years. When I was in the police, I initiated projects that cut youth crime in Angus by doing the basics – organising activities on a Friday night, like football and dance, which took kids of the streets. Surprise, surprise, the crime rate dropped in half. It wisnae rocket science! And it didn’t cost a lot of money to do either. I was able to show the councillors, ‘here’s the savings – this is costing £60k a year, or whatever, but it’s saving you £2.5 million’.

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About iScot Magazine

Celebrate good times c’mon! iScot celebrates its 4th birthday and what better way than a bumper 136 page cornucopia of articles, short stories, science, history, movies commentary, puzzles and much much more