By LOUISE THOMASON
Shetland Youth Information Service (SYIS) held an open day on Saturday to launch its new service.
Run from its base at the Market Cross in Lerwick, SYIS is a voluntary organisation with charitable status which provides free and confidential advice to young people on a range of issues such as health, housing, relationships, sex, employment and education.
The service was set up in 1998 and moved to its current location two years later. It closed for refurbishment at the end of 2008, although it continued to run without the drop-in centre.
Although the new service has been open since November, staff have been running the drop-in centre on a trial basis to ensure what they are offering is the best combination of service to suit young people’s needs.
Project manager Barry Calliue said they were now “fairly sure they had got it right” and the day had “gone very well”.
Mr Calieu said: “The open day marked the re-opening of the drop in service. It’s been closed for a good while for extensive refurbishment so this was the formal re-opening.”
Featuring a new flexible layout to maximize use among different groups, computer access and a team of seven friendly staff on duty, the centre aims to serve the information needs of youngsters.
Mr Calieu added: “We seek to be the first point of call for any young person in Shetland looking for information… If we can’t help immediately then we’ll ensure we direct them to someone who can.”
Attending the opening were MSP Tavish Scott, who cut the ribbon, and MEP Ian Hudghton, the SNP president. During the day an estimated 60 people, including youngsters and adults, came along to find out about the new improved service.
Mr Hudghton said: “The enthusiasm of the young people who have been involved in this project so far was a delight to see and all of the partners who have brought this to fruition deserve a great deal of credit.”
SYIS is open six days a week, from 1pm to 4.45pm Monday to Friday and noon till 4.45pm on Saturdays.