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Letters from the Manager's Office: The Youth of Today... are Amazing!

Updated: Jul 7

Something you hear people say a lot in Prestwick – and just about every other town in the UK too - is there isn’t all that much for younger people to do. And they may have a point. Obviously, we have our wonderful beach, ‘Boydies’ (i.e. Boydfield Gardens), and the Oval, but when it comes to Main Street it is a largely over-18’s experience. There are lots of estate agents, restaurants, and licenced premises but apart from Costa, there isn’t really a large indoor space for younger people to hang out, feel welcomed in, and enjoy. We want to address this at the Broadway. 

We have had a chance to get to know some of our younger community members via our Prestwick Academy School Board. They have been an incredible help to us in better understanding young people’s needs and how the future Broadway could help address them. It is a popular pastime to bash ‘the youth of today’ but I must say, these young people are far more educated, engaged, and passionate about the world around them than I ever was.  They really are a credit to the Academy. 

We have seen this a lot actually.  A year or so ago we had around 200 students from Heriot-Watt University undertake a week-long collaborative design project with the Broadway as the focus.  I confess to being a little worried the Broadway might go over their heads: just another derelict old building, right?  On the contrary, they were fascinated by the building, captivated by the history, and in a world of software and touch screen controls, the ability to flick a switch or pull a lever on a projector was treated almost with reverence.  We had amazing feedback from the students, including one who said it was a highlight of their entire degree!  Young people get it.

We were genuinely excited to get the Academy Board along to the Broadway last month for a design workshop.  We covered everything from the décor to the activities and programming, to the concessions.  We learnt a huge amount – including the word ‘instagrammable’ – and all of it informed ongoing design work with our architects Burrell Foley Fischer.  That’s right, the views, opinions, wants and desires of our younger community members have been fed ‘directly’ to our professional design team.  We are serious about creating a space where younger people can feel welcome, safe, and have a great time in an environment that does not involve alcohol.

There is a huge appetite among young people to bring the Broadway back.  As you may know, South Ayrshire Council have allocated £2m for Prestwick and a consultation has recently closed, asking where the community would like the money to be spent.  We were fortunate enough to be invited along to the Youth Consultation Event in late February at which proposals were put in front of pupils from P6 to S6.  The event was opened by a delegation from South Ayrshire Council and Prestwick Civic Pride and began with presentations on some fantastic projects including, of course, the Broadway Cinema.  We were somewhat overwhelmed by the positive response from the pupils.  The main question was: “what are the improvements and where should the money be spent” and the Broadway gained more votes than all the other improvements combined!  

The audience has spoken.  To all those who say there isn’t much for younger people to do in Prestwick, the Broadway will be for you… and everyone else too. Photos accredited to Gemma of Esther Morgan Photography.


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