Castlemilk Youth Complex is Scotland’s foremost independent youth arts organisation. Uniquely, this Charity is managed by the young people using state of the art facilities including, a fully equipped 80 seater theatre, digital recording and broadcasting studios and visual arts media. With established and innovative youth theatre and music projects, including devised theatre events and the Complex engages excluded young people in learning and life changing opportunities. While the focus is on the successful regeneration of Castlemilk, in Glasgow, the Complex develops exciting projects with partners across the city and internationally.

Major features of the organisation include,
•a unique youth led management structure, the majority of directors of the company/charity must be young people living, working or studying in Castlemilk

•youth empowerment, ongoing consultation with members through structured activities

•innovative youth work through arts media, from ‘drop~in’ facilities to structured learning programmes, linking to programmed events

•market leader, used for case studies by National Organisations and featured in national Youth Work publications. Visited by decision makers, practitioners and young people from around the UK and beyond.

•bench mark tested quality standards, Investors in People, SQA Approved Centre, ‘√√’ Positive about people with disabilities

•significant service provider, 5 days a week, 48 weeks of the year

•high quality facilities, 80 seater theatre with custom built lighting rig with additional fully portable custom built lighting system, 4.4K watt stereo PA. Digital music recording suite and radio broadcast facilities. Photographic dark room with digital photography and video resources. Cafe, in~house catering, public access inter net. Meeting rooms and flexible general areas, fully accessible throughout.

The organisation aims to become Glasgow’s best practice model of arts service delivery for young people in the community to facilitate life long learning, training and inclusive routes into education and employment.

What are community arts delivering?

The organization continues to deliver a wide range of community arts and over the years has significantly contributed to a variety of projects and activities.

Physical Resources

The Youth Complex has a well-equipped, fully operational, flexible 80-seater studio theatre. The theatre is also equipped with and independent portable lighting rig for community performances in other venues.

There is a well-equipped fully operational music studio, compatible with local colleges, with rehearsal and digital recording facilities. There is also portable PA for performance in other venues.

There is well equipped, fully operational digital radio broadcast studio with internet broadcast capability.

There is a ‘print’ room for traditional and digital photography and digital video and editing facilities.

There is a variety of art media such as paints, spay cans etc.

Youth Music

Young people have been supported to develop their interests in music through the establishment of a youth music forum, essentially a youth led organization which has developed and coordinated and number of activities including, rehearsal and recording opportunities and live performance opportunities. The Forum has established a recording company and record label, (http//:burninghaggisrecords.co.uk). In order to achieve these outcomes the Forum has facilitated instrument tuition, vocal coaching, music technology and sound engineering courses.

Young people from the Complex have contributed to a number of wider community events and their own events, through performances, at local community venues, City center commercial outlets, City Council events at George Square and Glasgow Green (Maydaze) and at the screening of winning entries of the Ken Loach and Paul Laverty filmmaking competition (organized by the young people managing the Youth Complex in 2003)

The Youth Complex has operated 4 restricted short licence community radio broadcasts within the local area, providing a youth led radio station ‘cycloneFM 106.6’, broadcasting 12 hours a day for up to 28 days. The vast majority of broadcasters are young people who have undergone technical training and programme production training. Current radio broadcast projects are employment training related, broadcast media is used as a tool to improve the job readiness of vulnerable young people struggling to access the employment, post school training or further education.

Youth Theatre

A Youth Theatre Company, (www.complextheatre.co.uk), has been established with support of SAC, GCC and Castlemilk Partnership. The Company will produce 5 major new and original theatre production between April 2003 and March 2006 as well as performing18 times in community venues as well as training young people in theatre disciplines to recognized qualification standard through the SQA. The main activities of the Company are drama, movement, music, and projection.

Young people have performed to MSPs, at the Edinburgh Fringe, at UK wide Conference on drugs in London in the presence of the Queen of Sweden. They have performed as members of projects with 7.84 Theatre Company and during the Glasgow’s Year of City of Architecture and Design (1999)

Visual arts

Young people managing the Youth Complex organize and run an annual filmmaking competition supported by acclaimed filmmakers Ken Loach and Paul Laverty.

Young people are supported to express their ideas, views and feelings through visual media including the ‘Cheese Eh?’ photography exhibition at the Fringe Gallery, 2002 (multi national Artist Against Exclusion project, second residency hosted by the Youth Complex), mural work, graffiti art projects (including a Strathclyde Police crime prevention video), painting, drawing etc.

What are the benefits and potential benefits of community arts?

The benefits to local young people include
•gaining confidence and self-esteem

•developing talents, skills and interests

•gaining knowledge and understanding

•developing planning skills

•organisation and team work skills

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