ONE OF MORAY’S LEADING social enterprises is in danger of closing down within days unless significant financial pressures are addressed.
The award-winning Outfit Moray provides carefully tailored programs of outdoor learning and adventure activities for schools, youth organizations, families and communities.
The Lossiemouth-based charity seeks to actively develop potential, making a positive difference to the lives of others, through their programme of accessible and affordable outdoor learning and adventure.
However, after 12 years as an independent charity and for two before that as part of the Elgin Youth Café, funding pressures could see an end to their work that has seen around 14,000 young people realise their full potential.
In recent years, the charity has been providing fully-funded, multi-activity respite breaks for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people and offering fully-funded programs for high school pupils at risk of dis-engaging with education.
The feedback from these programs has highlighted the considerable positive impact that outdoor learning and adventure can have. These programs are just a couple of the many ways Outfit Moray is working with young people to improve health, wellbeing and life chances.
Their Bike Revolution Project, now in its fifth year, refurbishes bikes donated by the public, selling them at affordable prices to encourage people to get cycling. The project also maintains and services bikes for the local community, provides training and cycling activities with all proceeds going to help support the work of Outfit Moray.
Alas, over the last two years Outfit Moray has been under significant financial pressure, partly as a result of over-stretch when launching a project to create an outdoor learning and adventure hub at Milltown Airfield – and partly due to rising costs and reducing income from fundraising.
The result of these pressures has been to reduce the charities reserve funds to the point at which the charity may have to close if funding is not secured very quickly. The impact of this would be a huge loss in local provision as there are no other organizations offering this kind of support and opportunity to the young people of Moray.
Now Outfit Moray is appealing for support from the public to help overcome this short-term financial pressure by donating through the charity donation page – and the charity would also like to speak to local businesses, or local branches of national businesses, who may be interested in donating or sponsoring some of Outfit Moray’s programs.
Any business interested in donating or sponsoring should contact Tony at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01343 549571.
£50k survival requirement
The charity is facing a potential funding shortfall of £50,000 between now and Easter – and while Outfit Moray remain hopeful that various outstanding funding applications will be successful, given their strong track record, this cannot be wholly relied upon.
So, the charity is pursuing other avenues for community fundraising, including pre-Winter bike safety checks, a one-day discounted pre-Christmas bike sale and a quiz night, all on December 2 in Lossiemouth. There is also a Christmas Ceildh on December 8 at Duffus Hall.
Outfit Moray would warmly welcome public support of all the community fundraising ventures as they seek to secure a longer term future for the charity. Additionally, four staff from Outfit Moray will be taking a donated tandem bicycle for a sprint around the newly launched ‘North East 250’ on December 10, riding the route continuously in shifts of two.
This ‘mad’ challenge is a very typical staff response to the situation as their passionate belief in what the charity does, inspires them to push themselves to tackle the hill climbs and the weather in a bid to raise sponsorship for the charity. Click here to sponsor ‘Santa’s Tandemistas’.
CEO Tony Brown said: “We are facing a ‘perfect storm’ of reducing funding and rising costs = and the timing of this issue could not be worse, as we head into the Winter season when there is a seasonal downturn in take-up of the charities services.
“Helpfully, there are many activities that we do, which are suitable for the Winter season and we have recently been given a fantastic opportunity to use some indoor facilities at RAF Lossiemouth to ensure we can keep delivering adventure for local young people throughout the Winter.
“So we would urge schools and youth organizations to get in touch and arrange a program tailored to their needs.”
Last night Moray’s MSP, Richard Lochhead, said: “Outfit Moray is a well known and popular charity successfully encouraging people in Moray to enjoy the great outdoors for well over a decade now. Hopefully, if the community rallies round the current short financial challenges can be overcome bearing in mind the team have secured future funding.
“I am investigating whether there are any funding streams available and I would certainly encourage any local businesses and individuals, who may be looking to donate some money to a good cause, to seriously consider Outfit Moray.”
Claire Alldritt, Chair of the Board of Trustees added: “A huge amount of work has been done over the last two years to mitigate the current funding issues – making the charity more efficient and widening the services it provides to the local community.
“But sadly, with the rising costs of adventurous activities and the financial climate of the country leading to less successful funding applications, the pressures have mounted to crisis point.
“Having been a volunteer for Outfit Moray for many years, I have seen, first-hand, the positive outcomes of our work with young people and I hope that the public will recognize that and get behind supporting a local charity that really delivers for local youngsters.
“I will also be getting my running shoes on to tackle a 10km run in aid of the charity and my sponsorship page can be found at https://give.net/pain_equals_pounds.”