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Following an approach by the Army Welfare Services at Kinloss Barracks, Outfit Moray successfully bid for a grant from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to take mixed groups of young people from local and armed services families on outdoor adventures.
These activities are aimed at helping facilitate the building of friendships and equip young people with the skills and confidence to engage with local groups and clubs, something their close-knit, Service community ties can often deter them from doing.
Sarah Magee from the Army Welfare Services (AWS) explains: “We are very fortunate to be able to work in partnership with Outfit Moray, bringing their outdoor education activities into our holiday programme.
“This year, 39 Engineer Regiment personnel have been deployed for long periods of time all over the world, which can be very challenging for their young people, who often find the constant change difficult to manage.
“Enabling them affordable holiday programmes not only creates learning opportunities, but also a chance to have fun with their peers and as well as supporting positive mental health.
“We have worked closely with Outfit Moray to create a varied program of accredited courses including: climbing, water sports, Bikeability and lots more.
“We have also included some family sessions aimed at bringing families together. The feedback from families and young people has been really positive already.
“One of the benefits to the Community Covenant Grant is that the funding extends beyond the serving soldier, enabling us to include young people from the local area, supporting our partnership work and enabling us to encourage other young people in the area to join our regular youth clubs.”
Tony Brown, Outfit Moray CEO adds: “Our aim is to encourage the development of friendships through shared learning between the two groups of young people. They will take part in a range of activities including climbing, canoeing, mountain biking, orienteering and map reading.
“They will all gain certificates in each activity, which will then further their confidence and make them feel more able to join local clubs and groups, strengthening community integration.
“We are extremely grateful to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust for their generous £20k Grant to facilitate this project.”
So far, the young people aged from 8-18 have already been working towards a paddle sport award, taking part in kayaking, canoeing and SUPping (stand up paddle boarding) both at the mouth of the River Lossie and Loch Na Bo.
They have also completed Bikeability 1&2, and later this summer will be on a walking course to achieve a National Navigation Award Scheme.