Justice Secretary Michael Matheson with An Lanntair chief executive Elly Fletcher in the Harris Tweed exhibition

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson visited An Lanntair Arts centre in Stornoway yesterday  (Thursday) meeting the centre’s chief executive Elly Fletcher and visiting some arts workshops aimed at young people.
Mr Matheson was looking at the impact of CashBack for Communities – a Scottish Government programme which takes funds recovered from the proceeds of crime and invests them into free activities and programmes for young people across Scotland.

Since 2008, £75 million recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act has been committed to the CashBack for Communities Programme and other community initiatives.  The programme has funded 1.8 million activities and opportunities for young people.
This investment includes £24 million on sporting activities and facilities projects, £10 million on grant schemes that support youth work projects across all 32 local authority areas and over £3.5 million on cultural activities involving arts, music and dance.
Mr Matheson was visiting to find out more about An Lanntair’s Art Labs and the Uncharted Project.  Uncharted is described as an ambitious island-wide youth engagement programme run by An Lanntair and funded by Creative Scotland’s Time to Shine – Scotland’s first National Youth Arts Strategy.  
Uncharted engages young people from primary school age upwards in a programme of arts projects, commissions and curatorial opportunities.  An Lanntair has five ‘Arts Hubs’ in Uig, Ness, Tarbert, Stornoway and Bragar equipped with materials and equipment allowing access to a wide range of art forms.
You can read all about the projects here - http://www.uncharted-art.com/
Also present yesterday was Ruth O’Dell, one of the artists involved in delivering the programme, who has a studio in South Dell.  Ruth explained that S1-S3 pupils came to the arts centre for two hours on Friday afternoons – they had covered all sorts of artistic activity from painting and drawing to sculpture.  There can be up to 10 youngsters involved.  This also offers a way for youngsters who had outgrown the Saturday Art Club to continue with some artistic activity.  Ruth first became involved with the Saturday Art Club about seven years ago and now takes a number of different classes for different age groups.