A COMMUNITY has paid tribute to a charity which has helped hundreds of youngsters throughout the city.

Govan residents gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Govan Youth Information Project with a special birthday party.

Around 200 people attended the event at Govan Cross, which not only marked the charity's birthday but also celebrated the Commonwealth Games.

Local kids took part in a flag parade, had their faces painted, danced and sang throughout the day.

Stuart Clark, the charity's project co-ordinator, said: "We're happy we're still here as we've watched lots of organisations close round about us.

"We have looked after so many children and we've got lots of parents telling that us they couldn't do the things they do with their kids if we weren't here to give them the support."

Stuart, who has worked with the organisation for 13 years, said in the past year they have helped 20 youngsters find employment and offered support to countless others.

Since launching in 1994, staff have visited schools to teach children about the dangers of drugs, legal highs and alcohol as well as educate them about bullying and racism.

Run by two members of staff and around 20 volunteers their free activity programmes also offer a lifeline to many parents in the area who would struggle to take their children on holiday. In 2010 they won an Evening Times Community Champion award.

Stuart said: "There are a lot of parents who will come and tell us how their child's confidence and self esteem are ­developing from coming here.

"There are only two staff, myself and Gina, and it's hard work but it's worth it. We co-ordinate everything, plan it all and everything we provide is free because we want to make sure no child misses out.

"That's our philosophy - ­people say we should charge but if we do that, the children most in need will be the first to be withdrawn.

"Every child should have access to the same opportunities and we try to teach them better ways to behave and communicate with each other."

After receiving a Heritage Lottery grant recently, Stuart and Gina are now looking forward to using their newly-decorated office space at Govan Cross.

The sign above the revamped office was unveiled during the birthday celebrations, marking its official opening.