Prior to the Westray Conference in 1998, the lack of youth facilities was well recognised. A typical Saturday night for teenagers in Westray meant meeting up at the public toilets. A Youth and Children subgroup was determined to meet the needs of Westray’s young folk, and consulted with and actively involved them in planning. The strong feeling was that a drop-in centre was needed, that had rules, but as little adult involvement as possible, with young people to be involved in the establishment of the centre. The use of a private building was donated as both an interim solution and a trial to see how it would work. This was an important first step and led community backing for the Westray Development Trust to build a centre, now known as the Hofn, for the primary use of young people. This was funded primarily by the Social Inclusion Fund, with other smaller funds used for furniture and equipment, transport and operating costs. The building opened for use in September 2000 with a disco and official opening marking the occasion. The building is owned by the Westray Development Trust.
The Hofn is well recognised as a community asset, with considerable value to our young folk and their families in assisting the transition to independence. Its primary users are those in the S1-S4 age group, with new users becoming involved each year. With the move of trust offices to the neighbouring unit and the upgrade of the building and facilities in 2013 it is expected that the Hofn will also continue to be used as a community meeting venue.