AN under-threat youth group in Maryhill has been handed a last-minute lifeline thanks to a cash boost from a charity set up by the late Euromillions winner Colin Weir.

The Shakespeare Street Youth Club was faced with the prospect of closing their doors for good after they failed to secure funding from Glasgow City Council which helps them pay for staff to operate the facility.

The group, which was founded in Maryhill in 1923, applied for funding the same way they have done for over 40 years.

But were rejected by the local authority leaving manager Julie McMillan with no other choice but to look to make staff redundant which would force the closure of the centre.

Glasgow Times:

Pictures by Robert Perry 

On Friday night at a public meeting held to discuss the future of the club, known locally as The Shakey, it was, however, announced that The Colin Weir Foundation was making an immediate donation of £25,000 to help keep their doors open.

Glasgow Times:

Julie, who has been involved in the club for 27 years, said: “We applied as normal but the reason we were rejected was because there were missing documents.

“When I sent the application I said to them to get in touch with me should they require further information

“But nothing was said until we were given a letter on December 22 that we were not getting the grant.”

Glasgow Times:

The Glasgow Times reported last week that at least 125 community groups had funding bids rejected - but have now been given until the end of the month to resubmit their application.

Changes to the scheme this year meant the local authority had rejected many of the groups because one or more of the six documents required had not been attached to their application.

In the case of The Shakespeare Street Youth Club, the rejection created a funding gap to pay for staffing costs which threatened its future.

Julie said: “We are doing the work we are asked to be doing and more.

“We don’t have a great deal of money in the bank. We are always fundraising, it is constant because we want to give our kids the best experience in here.”

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Julie is now working to find out what the council needs for her application to meet their criteria of required documents and hopes to apply again before the January 31 deadline.

In the meantime, the money provided by The Colin Weir Foundation has delighted the community.

The foundation was set up by the late Partick Thistle fan who died in December at 71.

Mr Weir and his then-wife Chris, from Largs in North Ayrshire, claimed the £161million EuroMillions jackpot in July 2011, the highest amount handed out in the UK at the time.

Former Partick Thistle chairwoman Jacqui Low, described as a trustee of The Colin Weir Foundation, contacted the club with the good news.

In a letter seen by the Glasgow Times, she said: “As the oldest youth club in Scotland and being aware of the other work you do, it is clear what a significant loss to the local community it would be if you were to close.

“In order to give you breathing space to make long term arrangements, I would like to offer the club an immediate donation of £25,000 from The Colin Weir Foundation to ensure that you keep the doors open.”

The community group which is part of a centre offering classes for five to 90 year olds is in talks for further funding from the Foundation.

Shopkeepers on Maryhill Road and the Maryhill Spiritualist Church also donated £500 each.

Julie said: “We have broken down the violence and territorialism that used to exist between the kids from different areas.

“Kids now are isolated. They are interested in social media, they want to stay in the house and they don’t want to go out.

“We are trying to encourage kids to take part in activities, join their community and feel part of their community.”

She added: “We have got kids that deal with a lot in their home - drugs, alcohol, violence. anti-social behaviour and fear.

“These kids come here and feel they belong, that this club cares about them.”

She added: “The donation from the Colin Weir Foundation - you do not know what this means to these kids. Without that we were getting paid off, we were losing our jobs. These kids were losing this group and all the lets were losing this community hall.”

Glasgow Times:

MSP Bob Dorris attended the meeting alongside dozens of people in the community.

He said: “It is heartening to see the warmth and support from our local community who have rallied round when concerns were raised that their application for the Communities Fund may not progress. I share that warmth having seen first-hand the great job the youth club does.

“Fortunately the representations that I made to the council with fellow elected representatives have been listened to and the Shakey’s application will now be considered for funding by the new Communities Fund.

“I am very hopeful that application will be successful and intend working with the Shakespeare Street Youth Club in the weeks ahead to support them to gain financial stability and protect their services for years to come.”

Glasgow Times:

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “The group could not be assessed for the fund because it did not submit all the required information with its application. The council is allowing additional time for organisations to complete their applications and has begun contacting them with advice.”