While cinema-goers have been enjoying the new cinematic blockbuster Avatar over the festive period, young people throughout South Lanarkshire will soon be able to explore their own 3D world, thanks to an innovative project called Core Connex.
Benefiting from more than pound;270,000 from the European Social Fund, the pilot project allows young people to create their own online world and personal avatars to access local services in the authority area.
Core Connex uses digital media to engage with young people. It has adapted the internet's largest user-created virtual community, Teen Second Life, to provide core services, like health advice in conjunction with NHS Lanarkshire.
The project was trialled at the Universal Connections youth centres in Hamilton and is now set to be rolled out in eight other youth centres in the area - in East Kilbride, Cambuslang, Carluke, Douglas, Lanark, Larkhall, Rutherglen and Whitehill in Hamilton.
Linzi Paterson, 17, has been involved from the start and is now a part- time youth worker with the project. "The idea of using an online world is really cool," she said. "In our world, you can do anything you want - you can use your imagination, you can even fly! It's taught me new computer and mathematical skills and made me much more confident."