Frequently asked questions

  • What is The Ark?

The Ark is a Christian charity and company (limited by guarantee) that was set up in 2004 initially to be a centre that will provide a safe recreational environment for the young people of our community, and promoting the self-worth of all regardless of their sex, race, creed, physical or mental ability. 

Over time this objective has evolved into The Ark being a centre of excellence in youth work, engaging with young people through weekend events and outreach work, equipping young people with life skills through our work with schools and other partners, and empowering young people with the experience and confidence to take hold of a more positive future for themselves.

  • Where is The Ark?

The Ark is located in Ayr, adjoining the Citadel Leisure Centre in South Harbour Street.

  • What does The Ark do?

The Ark

•    Organises and stages events on Friday evenings for young people.  These themed events include live DJ Nights, Messy Games Nights, Quiz Nights, Open Mic Nights, Onesie Party Nights, Geek Nights, UV Party Nights, Mocktail Party Nights, etc., taking place in The Ark’s distinctive, but unique alcohol-free, night club style setting.

•    Chill:In on Wednesday evenings for young people to drop in and chill out with their friends, play games (X-Box and/or Wii), use the computers in The Ark’s IT suite, watch movies, or get involved in various activities such as arts and crafts, that are planned by the staff.

•    Lunchtime cafés on Wednesday and Thursdays open to all, but catering mainly for young people.

•    Community education work, in association with South Ayrshire Council’s secondary schools in Ayr, involving school children whom the schools have identified for various reasons as needing additional encouragement and support, such as:

·   Young people who might struggle to integrate and interact with their peers.

·   Young people who have become disengaged from school and, so, are in danger of leaving school with very few, if any, recognised qualifications, and could end up not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Please note entry for Chill:in and Friday night events are FREE. There are drinks and snacks available to buy at our alcohol-free bar for a low price.

  • Who runs The Ark?

The Ark employs 3 youth workers on a full / part time basis to carry out the day-to-day activities involved in the planning and doing of all that The Ark does.  However, this staff team also relies on the support of a team of volunteers (aged between 16 and 60+), without whom much of what The Ark does would not be possible. 

Before anyone is taken on to work in The Ark with young people, potential staff and volunteers are required to complete an application form, including providing the names of two referees from whom references are obtained.  In addition all potential staff and volunteers are disclosure checked in order to become members of the Scottish Government’s PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) scheme.  (Cf: http://www.pvgschemescotland.org/index-2.html)

  • When and for whom is The Ark open?

•    On Friday evenings The Ark is open during school terms to all young people in classes S1 – S3 from 7.30pm – 10pm. 

•    The Wednesday evening Chill:in is open during school terms to all secondary school aged young people from 6pm – 8pm.

•    The Cafés are open during school terms on Wednesday from 12 noon – 2pm, and on Thursdays from 12.15pm – 1pm.

  • Will my child be properly cared for in The Ark on a Friday evening?

The Ark has its own child protection policy, which staff and volunteers are instructed and trained to comply with at all times.

The Ark reserves the right to ask all young people wanting to come into The Ark to prove that they are not in possession of any item or substance that is illegal, potentially hazardous or undesirable. 

Illegal items or substances (e.g. alcoholic drinks, drugs, cigarettes / electronic cigarettes) will be confiscated.  Other items, which are considered to be potentially hazardous (e.g. aerosol deodorants, perfume, etc.) or undesirable (e.g. chewing gum), are retained at the door for the young person(s) to reclaim at the end of the evening.

Any young person who is found to be possessing, using or attempting to distribute any type of illegal drug will be banned from entering or evicted from The Ark and reported to the police.

Any young person arriving at The Ark who gives reason for the door steward(s) to suspect them of having drunk alcohol before arriving is asked to submit to a ‘breathalyser’ test.  Any young person who refuses to submit to this test or fails the test is excluded from The Ark for that evening.

Apart from having to go through the process for recruiting staff and volunteers, all our Friday evening ‘stewards’ (staff and volunteers) are trained to keep an eye out for behaviour that might become threatening to the health and safety of those in The Ark, and to calmly intervene before it becomes serious.  So, for example, without stifling their youthful exuberance and fun:

•    young people are discouraged from running around in The Ark, particularly up and down the stairs;

•    two or more young people who appear to be fighting will be told to stop it, even if they claim they are only ‘messing about’.

•    repeated apparent ‘misbehaviour’ may lead a steward to warn the young person(s) that, if it continues, they risk immediate eviction from The Ark.

•    serious misbehaviour or continuing misbehaviour after being given a warning will result in the young person(s) being evicted immediately from The Ark on the authority of a member of staff.

For each Friday evening there will be a minimum of 5 ‘stewards’ (including at least two members of staff) in attendance in The Ark, of which at least two of the stewards will be male and at least two will be female.  In addition, there will be at least one person present who is trained and qualified to administer ‘first aid’.

For any more information call: 01292 264020 or visit www.ayrark.co.uk