A YOUTH charity in Clackmannanshire celebrated the opening of their own premises earlier this week.

Ochil Youths Community Improvement (OYCI) moved into their new space on Tillicoultry's High Street last month.

The new space will allow the group to offer more services to young people in the area and has been a long term goal for the charity.

Lisa Keddie, development officer at OYCI, said: "It's actually so brilliant because it means we've got so much more flexibility: we can open more for drop ins and those sort of things.

"We'll still be using community spaces because it's just really great to support everyone and certain things, like Play in a Week, we're still doing at Tilly Baptist Church because it's a much bigger hall.

"We've got our Thursday night drop in which we can now do in our own place and it means young people now have a bit of ownership on our own place, we don't have to be as careful because it's ours which is nice."

Lisa explained how having a place to call their own was a goal way back at the inception of the charity.

She continued: "In the initial consultation for OYCI five years ago they ended with: "What would be your ambitions for this project?" and a lot of the young people said their own premises.

"It feels really good that we've got that written down on a mind map somewhere so it's cool to say we've done it. It's all come together really nicely."

Youth Scotland are supporting OYCI with the rent by offering funding and the group recently received some free furniture.

Lisa continued: "We got all of our furniture from COP26.

"All that furniture was being given away to charities so we put an application in for that so it's all basically brand new IKEA furniture which is ace.

"All we had to do was get a van and go to IKEA in Glasgow; we got loads of chairs, tables, comfy chairs and computer desks which is great as we're using the space as our office too."

Lisa hopes that the new space can be seen as a home of sorts for the young people who engage with the charity.

She continued: "Another thing way back in one of the initial consultations was in Tilly there's [a number] of pubs but not that much available for young people in the evenings.

"It's really great to be able to provide that. We're not going to be open every night but to begin with we'll be open on Thursday and Saturday nights so they'll have a place where they can come and have fun and feel safe."

Lisa added: "I'm absolutely buzzing. This feels like a really key time for OYCI and everything's come together quite naturally.

"It's really exciting to be able to reach more young people and there's something nice about having a presence on the high street."

Visit facebook.com/OYCIchange for more information on OYCI.