A CARING east-ender from Greenock is set to celebrate 30 years working in the heart of the community she has come to love.

Annemarie Shearer set up a youth club there when she was a young mum and went on to volunteer at Auchmountain Resource Centre for 17 years before landing the job as its manager.

Over the years she has watched young people from the area grow up and make good lives for themselves.

Greenock Telegraph:

Annemarie, 60, said: "I've enjoyed meeting with all the young people, working with them, growing with them.

"I was a young mum when I set up the youth club and my kids went to it as well.

"I did voluntary work in the old Auchmountain Hall for 17 years.

"A group of us started up a youth club and when the centre was refurbished, I worked as a youth worker with the council and did outreach work."

Annemarie is originally from Glasgow but her family moved to Greenock for work when she was 12 and she was brought up in Leven Road.

Annemarie said: "I see myself as a Greenockian because I have lived here for such a long time. I still have family in Glasgow, but my heart is in the east end."

She has two daughters Angela, 39, who works in the centre, Rebecca, 28, who works in a nursery, and a son Craig, 39, who runs his own business.

She dotes on her young grandsons Brandon and Brodie.

Annemarie, who is in charge of two admin assistants and two caretakers, said: "I love my job working in the community, meeting new people and I always make sure people get a warm welcome here.

"I never dreamt that I would be running the place when I started off as a volunteer. But the key to running a good community centre is teamwork."

Annemarie says she has seen a lot of changes over the years, the biggest transformation has been the physical environment of the area.

She said: "The housing stock has changed for the better, the homes have improved but the people didn't change, which is a good thing."

Annemarie was on the frontline during the pandemic helping to send out food parcels and vouchers, toys and clothes to people in need during lockdown. The clothing bank at Auchmountain has continued since.

She said: "It's been difficult to get older people to come back to the centre after Covid and I really feel for people living on their own. One of our biggest achievements has been the clothing bank, as sadly a lot of people who come in can't afford clothes.

"People know they can trust me and anything they tell me like that is confidential. People shouldn't feel embarrassed asking for help."

Annemarie is proud of the young generation from the east end she has helped nurture and who are now making their own way in the world.

She said: "A few kids who have come through the youth club have come back to me to ask for references or just to let me know how they are getting on.

"I know one who joined the police force, one is doing engineering at college and another is a mechanic.

"It makes me feel proud to see them grown up and having kids of their own. It's been very rewarding to see that."

At the busy centre run by Annemarie there are Bookbug sessions, language classes, a job club, laundrette, cafe, youth club and much more.

Councillor Michael McCormick has heaped praise on Annmarie, saying she goes above and beyond the call of duty.

He said: "If you are talking about people in Inverclyde who make a difference Annemarie is one of them. She does a fantastic job, she lives in the community and really makes an impact when it comes to helping folk.

"She is very unassuming and never looks for anything in return, she just helps people quietly and in the background.

"People can go into the centre and get what they need and there is no stigma, they are always treated with respect."