Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed teenagers from Aberlour’s Youthpoint service for helping revive his old neighbourhood.
The football legend returned to a hero’s welcome in Glasgow’s Govan, where he grew up, to open a refurbished walkway on the banks of the Clyde.
Five young people from Youthpoint helped with the refurbishment of the riverside route that had fallen into dereliction.
Sir Alex congratulated Govan Workspace, who led the £950,000 refurbishment project, and the commitment of all the volunteers, including teenagers from Youthpoint, who helped paint the riverside railings.
He said their efforts and spirit would help ensure Govan had a brighter future, adding: “You don’t throw away your roots.
“You keep your roots all your life and I’m coming back here time and time again.
“I see the enthusiasm and the energy coming back. I see life coming back to the place.
“To all you Govanites. Keep going. Don’t give in.”
Before cutting the ribbon on the walkway on Friday, Sir Alex told the crowd said Govan was the verge of a revival after being ravaged by the collapse of the ship-building industry.
He said: “Anyone of my age who came from Govan will remember the halcyon days of ship-building.”
Sir Alex lamented the loss of the yards where thousands worked but said Fairfield, one of the most famous, had now been revived as a heritage centre and quality offices.
He said: “It’s come back and there are 1200 people working there now including some apprenticeships.
“Apprentices are the most important people in our country. It is easy to go to university and college but to have those practical skills is invaluable.”
Addressing the crowd, Humza Yousaf, transport minister and Glasgow MSP, singled out the Aberlour team for praise.
The five-strong squad, including Mitchell McMahon, 16, Kenny Doran, 17, and TJ Boyle, 14, helped paint the railings that line the pathway and other sites in the community and Johnny Hendry, who leads Youthpoint Glasgow, praised their work and commitment.
He said: “These young men come from Govan and jumped at the chance to get involved.
“They are just as proud to come from Govan as Sir Alex and were thrilled to meet him.”
The newly-refurbished walkway reconnects Govan to the waterfront and offers a new route to the historic Govan Old, the site of the oldest Christian settlement on the Clyde.
Youthpoint has been supporting Govan’s young people for more than a decade, finding and engaging young people and giving them new focus and self-confidence at a critical point in their lives.
The projects and activities are innovative, the methods unconventional. They have included a 30-strong Youthpoint choir singing a song – One Scotland – celebrating multiculturalism – for the First Minister at an event celebrating Aberlour’s 140th anniversary.
It was written as part of an initiative One Scotland: Community Connections led by Gift Kofi Amu-Logotse, founder of Govan’s African Arts Centre. He threw open the doors to Youthpoint using painting, sculpture, storytelling, dance and drama to offer a new direction.
Youthpoint, has brought together Scots teens and young immigrants from a range of countries and, just as noteworthy, from a range of gang territories. Johnny said: “When you strip everything else away, kids are just kids. So many barriers have been broken down.”
Notes for editors:
Not all children are born with an equal chance. Aberlour is there for Scotland’s hidden children, when others let them down. Because every child deserves a chance to flourish.
We help by:
- Offering a safe place to live for children who have suffered abuse and trauma
- Making life easier for families where a child has a disability
- Giving babies a brighter future by building confidence in their parents
- Helping families recover from drug and alcohol addiction, so their children can thrive
- Working with young people to prevent their problems from spiralling out of control
Our vision is to transform the lives of the children and families we work with and, through this, contribute to building a fairer and more equal society