Published: 18/03/2017 12:00 - Updated: 17/03/2017 16:48

Learners need cash to repair leaky cabin roof

Written byNicole Webber

Jenny Dryburgh (centre) at the meeting place along with learners, peer mentors and supporters.
Jenny Dryburgh (centre) at the meeting place along with learners, peer mentors and supporters.

AN IT centre for young people and adults with learning difficulties is fundraising for a new roof before their building becomes irreparable.

The Meeting Place in Culloden is funded by the service users themselves and provides an area for learning multimedia and technology skills. The group focus on inclusion and boosting people’s ability.

However, the cabins they occupy behind the youth centre on Keppoch Road are in need of repair and there is not enough funds to reclad the building and the roof.

Manager Gill Sutherland said: "It is a happy buzzing place where people of all abilities can come together. There is such a demand that we are going to expand our opening hours but there is just no money left over to fix the roof."

Each of the service users pay £10 per day session and this includes the cost of printing, staff and heating the building.

This has remained the same since the service began and cheaper than many other adult services.

They have launched a Justgiving page in the hope that they will raise enough money to make the place watertight and more energy efficient. They hope that this change would stop them being forced to spend so much of their resources on heating and would hopefully stop the veranda at the front of the building from leaking.

Mrs Sutherland added: "It is the flat roof that is causing the problems, the portakabins were empty for a few years before we moved in and it is getting to the stage now where if we don’t do something in the next year then we will have a problem – we have to keep them heated 24/7."

Although the project has been active for nine years and has centres in Inverness, Nairn and Lossiemouth – the Inverness branch has only been in the portakabins for two years.

The online appeal for help on the JustGiving site has been shared on social media 26 times but they have only received £20 in donations, less than one per cent of the funds they require to improve the portakabins.

As well as adults with learning difficulties they also teach skills to young people who have been excluded from school, are in part time attendance, have left education or are unable to attend.

Mrs Sutherland added: "As well as technology skills they can work alongside the adults and learn about people with different abilities and learning difficulties, such as autism and that can be a massive learning experience and help them in the future."

They also use peer support, allowing service users to gain skills by teaching each other and sharing knowledge.

Project leader at the Inverness centre Jenny Dryburgh said: "We have a long way to go but a new roof would keep our costs down and let us spend our funds on the service users."

To help them raise funds to fix their centre visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gill-sutherland/coverphoto

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