Hope 2 Oban

Glencruitten Hostel

Painting the mural

Our ongoing work within the weekday home for young folk from the islands of Lismore, Bunessan, Iona, Coll, Colonsay and Easdale has continued to develop and grow since 2004. Annually, youth workers join hostel staff in visits to meet with pupils who will be moving from their rural primary school setting, sometimes from a school with a single figure role to Oban High School, where the S1 numbers often hit the 200 plus mark. The aim is to nurture a supportive relationship which will not only assist in what can be a fairly dramatic transition, but also can be helpful and supportive for the six years that young folks can spend within high school.

H2O youth workers consistently invest time in the hostel, with planned events or activities but often with no more of a plan than to ‘be there’. We have delivered craft evenings, games and quiz evenings, as well as assisting with various parties. Over the years, we have encouraged ‘Buzz groups’ with the young people and the hostel staff, where ideas for activities and events are developed by the younger pupils, assisted by their older peers from S5 and S6. These successfully led to an initial open evening pilot event 'Meet the Neighbours', an event that has coninued over the years and has become a fantastic way of fostering positive relationships between the hostel and the surrounding neighbourhood. These 'Meet the Neighbours' nights have included music, multi-media, crafts sales, BBQ's, ceilidh dancing and lashings of hospitality.


“H2O host movie nights at The Well with hot chocolate and sweets. It’s a wonderful chance to get out and relax” EG – Aged 16

“H2O make fun for the Hostel kids!”  ES – Aged 12

Growing from the chat within the ‘Buzz’ groups has been the notion of the Hostel community using their creative skills to produce something to visually represent life at Glencruitten Hostel.  H2O youth workers have worked with many at the Hostel to create a mural which symbolises aspects of life at and around home and the Hostel.
In addition to Islands being represented, it was decided to include as much as possible to illustrate the interests and hobbies of those who board. Sports, music, travel, appropriate livestock and a plethora of sea life are just some of the elements represented in the final design along with a colourful outline of each of the home islands.

Glencruitten Hostel linking with their neighbours


Meet the Neighbours - Christmas 2016

As mentioned above, it's always good to get to know your neighbours better and this is something the Glencruitten Hostel community has sought to do, with the assistance of H2O, for over seven years now. Starting in June 2010, it became clear that to invite local folks in to meet the young people from the islands and to see inside of Glencruitten Hostel was beneficial to the lives of all in the Glencruitten area.

To date there have been many ‘Meet the neighbours’ nights centring around food and fun. Hostel folk have provided music, given presentations about their island homes, hosted a BBQ, Ceilidh and Bingo times. Through the previously-mentioned ‘Buzz’ groups, the H2O team have worked with students and staff to plan, prepare and deliver the evening events. The young folk have taken ownership in each event, developing their individual gifts and talents in many areas, including music and hospitality, leading to a marked increase in self-confidence and social skills for many.

Over the coming months and years, it is intended to further foster links with the neighbours as the senior students offer their many skills to locals, perhaps to assist with gardening where there is a need, or perhaps shopping for elderly residents and the like. Certainly there is a strong commitment to continue with bi-annual times together.


Meet the Neighbours




The use of the outdoors to positively impact young lives is widely accepted, and to this end H2O has, in partnership with outdoor specialists in the area, been able to offer outdoor activities throughout the summer months. Younger hostel residents have been invited to take part in Canoeing, Archery, Bushcraft, Gorge Walking and Coasteering. These have been fun times, with personal challenges and confidence growing both individually and as teams.

Through simple yet creative, consistent and effective relational youth work, it is H2O’s aim to continue to provide additional appropriate support to the community of Glencruitten Hostel,   

“H2O I feel provide a very valuable means of support to young people living at Glencruitten Hostel and also at Oban High School.  They are extremely instrumental in helping young people to forge friendships with other pupils as well as bringing them together with other members of our community.”

Heather MacKinnon Houseparent at Glencruitten Hostel

 ‘D’ has always spoken very positively about activities at the hostel organised by Ewen and his team and (we) are delighted that she has been able to take part in craft making sessions and outdoor pursuits, such as kayaking and coasteering. I think the work of H2O makes a very valuable contribution to her life at the hostel and vastly improves the quality of life there for all concerned.

Parent of Glencruitten Hostel pupil