VOLUNTEERS of all ages are helping to make Helensburgh and Lomond a better place, the area’s police chief has reported.

Inspector Roddy McNeill gave an update to Argyll and Bute Council’s area committee on Thursday, March 21 on the various programmes available.

Workshops for young people to help officers in voluntary capacities are fully-subscribed, with pupils even forming a waiting list.

And with the tourist season about to get into gear again, Operation Ironworks is available for older volunteers to take part in.

Inspector McNeill said that the initiative for young people, known as the Police Scotland Youth Volunteer (PSYV) programme, was being spearheaded by new youth engagement officer Steven Carr.

The officer has taken over from Craig Stamp, who left the Helensburgh force in the later part of 2018 for a new post closer to his home.

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He said: “Stevie is up and running with the project. We have 24 young people signed up with a waiting list already in place.

“We are based at Hermitage Academy, which has been very good to us. The pupils are mostly from Hermitage but we do have a couple from Lomond School.

“As we go through the year, these youngsters’ services will be used at the Highland Games as well as to do leaflet drops for us.

“People can get involved in Operation Ironworks, and it is a great thing to be involved in. Recruitment in Dumbarton and Clydebank is going well – there is never a space there.

“The Ministry of Defence have visited us in relation to volunteer programmes, but they are working from a national point of view.

“However, they have offered us help, whether it is giving transport to the young people or other services, so that is moving forward.”

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Councillor George Freeman extended a warm welcome to the work of the PSYV, and also gave an update on Blairvadach Children’s Home in Shandon. He, the inspector and Jackie Baillie MSP recently held a meeting on the facility.

The councillor said: “I was at the launch of the PSYV, and Craig Stamp is clearly a big guy to replace, but I am looking forward to seeing the young people out and about.

“On Blairvadach, I have no doubt that your guys will continue to visit, and since our recent meeting at Dumbarton I have had no further complaints.

“One house had damaged windows through stones being thrown. I took that up with West Dunbartonshire and the result is that they have agreed to cover the substantial cost of replacing windows. They have advised that we should let them know of any further problems.”