Published: 14/03/2014 16:00 - Updated: 14/03/2014 10:50

Smoothie bar project set to open

SMOOTH operators at a Moray school have set up a refreshing new project.

Pupils try out their new smoothies.
Pupils try out their new smoothies.

Community Food Moray (CFM) has been working with young people from Milne’s High in Fochabers to set up and run a smoothie bar and youth drop-in, as part of a project funded by Young Start.

The project aims to help young people learn new skills, gain work ­experience and contribute to their ­local community through citizenship.

The Smoothie Bar – at the CFM base in Mosstodloch – creates an opportunity for young people to get together on a Saturday afternoon. Any young person between the ages of eight and 18 can attend between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

The bar includes a chill-out area with beanbags and cushions, and a breakfast bar in the shop window. Activities are planned over the summer.

Alastair Keddie, known to the youngsters and other CFM volunteers as Ked, is the development assistant who has put his heart and soul into getting the project off the ground. He began working on it last May by ­recruiting volunteers to make up the committee and working with partners in Youth Work, TSi Moray and Elgin Youth Café to gain knowledge and ­experience in supporting and ­engaging with young people.

The Mosstodloch shop has been ­redecorated in bright colours and new furnishings, and the committee have come up with some great recipe ideas for smoothies.

Said Jo Roberts, CFM manager: “We held a taster session last September in order to consult with the local community on what young people would like to see in the smoothie bar, so we are looking forward to finally opening the doors as a youth enterprise on Saturday.”

Richard Lochhead, MSP for Moray and Minister for Food and Rural Affairs, will be the special guest at the official opening tomorrow.

In addition to the smoothie bar, the project has also employed two young people over the past year. Under the terms of the funding they have to hand over to two new employees, but they have 12 months of continual work ­experience and training that will add value to their CV and help them to achieve further employment opportunities.

Added Jo: “The project also ­recruits and peer-mentors young volunteers from a variety of backgrounds who are supported to develop and ­improve work skills, enabling them to gain future employment. We are currently helping two young people who are working towards their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.”

Any young person who lives in the Fochabers and Mosstodloch area can get involved with the smoothie bar or just go along and chill for a couple of hours on a Saturday between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

The smoothie bar is also helping to promote work between the younger and older generations. Existing volunteers who run the shop during the week have given up some of their space for young people to have their chill-out area.

The youth committee have also been involved in lunch sessions for members of the community. Anyone who purchases a smoothie is entitled to free Wi-Fi access.

The official opening will be at 1.30pm on Saturday March 15.

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