A YOUTH organisation based in Peebles and Innerleithen has launched an urgent plea for survival as it struggles for funding.

Dave Hodson, the project manager and driving force behind Tweeddale Youth Action (TYA) is appealing for locals to dig deep to keep the group going.

The service gives young people a warm, safe space to meet in both towns and provides an alternative to congregating at bus stops and street corners.

Dave told the Peeblesshire News: “If you have nowhere else to turn, turn to us is the message we give to all young people.

“Our two venues in Peebles and Innerleithen are amazing, fun places for young people to hang out, relax and generally enjoy themselves.

“But TYA is much more than happy places in which to be. Our skilled staff offer care and emotional support to any young person in need.

“Through the work of TYA young people who are socially isolated or disengaged with school or have issues with their mental health have an alternative to finding an escape through drugs and alcohol.

“As well as the four weekly drop-in sessions we run four projects: Bike, Craft and Food Punks and Sound Scene Live. These enable and motivate young people to learn new practical skills such as repairing bikes, metal work, art skills and cookery, and to develop personally and socially.

“Sound Scene Live provides a platform for up and coming young bands to play live music, as well as opportunities for young people to experience contemporary live music for free.”

Senior youth worker, Katie Hibbert, works towards harm-reduction with young people living in Innerleithen.

Katie said: “This is hugely successful in highlighting to our young people the considerable risks they have been exposing themselves to when using drugs and alcohol.

“Through one to one support and group work, TYA covers a wide variety of challenges and concerns.

“These include bullying, social media and online safety, self-harming and sexual identity, all of which are seriously impacting young people’s lives on a daily basis.” To raise the money needed, and spread the word about their appeal, the team has launched a crowdfunding page.

Dave added: “Unfortunately, there is a cost associated with delivering high quality youth work and at the moment we are really struggling to find funding. Our Food Punks and Bike Punks projects are becoming increasingly viable as income-generating sources to help keep TYA doors open.

“But these projects are in their early days and we need money from the public to help keep us going until we can become self-sufficient. Please help us to help our young people.”

To make a donation, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/tweeddale-youth-take-action-1. For more details, call 01721 724779 or email info@tweeddaleyouth.co.uk