A WEE COUNTY youth charity has hired two new employees as it looks to continue to build on the foundations laid last year.

Connect Alloa recently received two funding bids from Coalfields Adapt and Thrive fund and have used the money to hire the new staff members.

Mhari Nimmo has started as the charity's digital engagement officer and David Cunningham will start as a youth worker.

Dave Crozier, project leader and founder of Connect Alloa, told the Advertiser how the charity continued to provide vital support throughout the pandemic and its plans for the future.

He said: "We've been very lucky in that we've got a solid team of volunteers with a variety of skills.

"We managed to, without skipping a beat, transition all of services online."

The group received funding to support the online meetings and they managed to keep going online every Tuesday and Friday.

Recently, they were able to meet up face to face, but have had to stop that for now with the latest restrictions.

Dave hopes to resume meeting in person as soon as possible as he believes the young people prefer it.

He added: "We work with [young people between] primary seven and [those aged] 19.

"I can't imagine at that age wanting to hang out with my youth worker over my friends if I'm going to go on the computer.

"Whereas if you're in person, they do want to see you.

"A lot of them have said they want the groups in person because that's what they enjoy more."

He says the group will continue to offer the services online as he knows "it's to keep the staff safe, the young people safe and to keep everybody's family safe".

Dave is reluctant to say Connect Alloa has had a good year with everything that has gone on in 2020, but he says they've had a lot of positive results.

"I think what we have done is made a difference," he said. "We've been really lucky and we've put a lot of effort into making a difference with a lot of young people.

Dave and his team recently had a meeting to discuss what they'd like to do moving forward.

He said: "It's about looking at the services we've got, how we can expand them, how we can try new things – but it's still about being safe right now.

"I expect Connect Alloa will continue to provide much needed free services for local young people, even if we are in lockdown.

"The way I'd hope this will happen is by expanding our team and continuing local partnerships as well as looking to begin new ones."

Visit www.facebook.com/connectalloa for more information.