Moving Forward Positively

eXp has been moving forward positively as we continue to navigate our way through and out of the Pandemic.  Change is a constant part of life, but it can sometimes be difficult.  Many of our young people have struggled with the way change has affected their education, family life and social life.  Many are standing still, uncertain what their future will hold and therefore feeling their confidence and ability to move forward positively, shaken. Our hope is that we will be able to aid their recovery and help them as we continue to be a constant in their lives offering safe and inclusive opportunities to discuss their concerns, to grow and learn in their abilities and skills and to have healthy social interaction with their peers.

Our staff team has had to face some changes in the past year again! Susan Whyte has remained Team lead, Anne Armstrong has remained part-time Administrator, Jack McGinnigal continues as a youth worker with an emphasis on our Rookies and Steppers leadership programme.  Gordon Whyte has joined the team for a limited part-time position as our Digital Communications Lead. We are looking forward to Skye Beautyman joining the team as a youth work apprentice with the jobs focus being on the School of Music and the Creative Digital Studios.  With the additions and growth of the staff team, there have been a lot of exciting things going on, which you can read about below!

School of Music

eXp School of Music received a grant from Allchurches which is allowing them to expand the project into the foreseeable future.  The School of Music has resumed meeting in person one Saturday a month.  The funds from Allchurches Trust facilitated the purchase of instruments and equipment that has allowed us to offer music lessons on a variety of instruments and training into digital music skills.  There are several young people who are new to the School of Music as a result!  We are forging ahead and are in discussions with the High School about some possible future collaborations. We received a grant from the Mary King Foundation which is facilitating a part-time apprenticeship until September 2022.  This role is being filled by a young person who has been involved with eXp through high school and with the School of Music from its start. All our music projects can be found on the eXp YouTube channel! It is our hope that the School of Music will flourish well into the future and help more young people get involved in the world of music.  If you or anyone you know would like more information about the School of Music and how you might get involved, please be in touch. All abilities welcome!

Sunset Potatoes

This is a small group of high school-aged young people who asked to go deeper into things of faith.  They meet twice a month socially and started out by reading and discussing A Bear Grylls devotional book.  As this is now coming to an end, they are going to be moving forward positively by looking and the idea of belonging and having a secure identity. The group is open to any young person who wants to have these conversations in a safe and inclusive group of peers with support from the eXp staff.

MAD Club

The MAD club continues with great enthusiasm by those who attend it each week during their Tuesday lunch period.  The numbers have grown this year and many more creative young people are taking part.  They are currently designing their t-shirt logo, preparing a presentation for the school on the idea of partnering with the school to help in the food bank and providing a tea/coffee and cake morning for the Elderly Befrienders. The club is a great place to come and eat lunch together, play some games and be creative about how they can Make A Difference in their school and community!

Thursday Night Club and Friday Night Specials

Friday Night Club re-established itself in November 2021 as Thursday Night Club in hopes that more of the young people at the hostel would be able to join in the fun.  Government guidelines have seen us having to restrict numbers and have a pre-registration form completed but this has not stopped the local young people from attending and enjoying these club nights in the Dunoon Baptist Church building.  Continuing with the tried and tested format the club nights have been an ongoing success for young people to come together and enjoy the social atmosphere the club has to offer them. This change has allowed us to start Friday Night Specials in which we give high school-aged young people the chance to do something a bit out of the norm socially by attending activities such as a trampoline park, cinema night, overnight ‘lock-ins’ and much more. 


Our Rookies and Steppers leadership programme has continued throughout the Pandemic, but we are all glad to be able to meet several times a month in-person to continue the training and be involved in the planning of our activities and clubs. There are 9 young people who have committed to these programmes, and it is great to have them voice their thoughts, ideas and opinions which help to shape everything we do. 


We continue to be involved at Dunoon Grammar School.  This has been a beneficial partnership for many years now and we are grateful for it.  We offer lunchtime support through being in the forum during several lunch periods and running the MAD lunchtime club on a Tuesday.  We have been able to support the Work Placement programme by offering placements with eXp.  We are also continuing to support the P7 transitions.

Primary Schools

Our connection with the feeder primary schools around Cowal has continued by providing some in-person and online content during 2021. We were able to provide some outdoor transition sessions in a few of the schools for the P7 leavers of 2021.  These provided an opportunity for them to get to know us better but also for us to speak into the issues they had with moving up to the Grammar school

Many of the schools participated in our Crosses of Hope project in April of 2021.  This allowed the art of the young people to be displayed in a local shop window during the Spring Break Holidays.  In November/December the schools participated in our Candles of Care project which once again saw several office windows in Dunoon brightly decorated with messages of care and hope for their community. We are looking forward to the P7 transitions at the end of June and into May.

Summer Camp 2021

Camp was able to happen offline this past summer.  It did take a different course than usual as we had to split the week into two groups in order to comply with covid residential guidelines, it was at a new site (SU Gowanbank) and it was a camp under canvas rather than in dormitories!  The young people and our camp volunteer leaders all rose to these changes, and we had an amazing week in the summer heat.  We had a fun camp reunion at the High Kirk Church Building in Dunoon in September.  The focus has now turned to Summer Camp 2022 and all the possibilities that it brings to allow young people on Cowal and throughout Argyll to have this amazing experience!

Categories: News