Local youth charity celebrates 20 years of changing lives
Lossiemouth-based outdoor learning and adventure charity, Outfit Moray, will be celebrating 20 years of delivering outdoor learning and adventure activities next month (April).
The charity was set up in 2003 by Iain Jamieson, a former regional organiser for outdoor education in Grampian. Iain witnessed first-hand the demise of outdoor facilities in Moray, during local government changes in the nineties.
He worked with local contacts, including Anne Dunn, Neil Millward and John Murray to kick-start an independent centre.
He said: “I believe the great outdoors enables young people, in particular, to develop activity skills, grow in confidence, enhance their self-esteem, learn about working as a team, and acquire leadership skills. I feel that engaging in outdoor activities is essential to our well-being, and also encourages us to value all the things nature has to offer, but sadly, young people, and indeed families, are increasingly detached from the natural environment.”
Following successful funding, Outfit Moray opened its doors to young people in Moray on 7 April 2003 and was the very first project to start delivering a programme of outdoor activities through the New Opportunities Fund.
Five years later the charity had already outgrown its Elgin space and moved to its base on Shore Street in Lossiemouth.
It went on to receive charitable status in 2006 and The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2010, the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.
With an average of three activities a week, around 200 vulnerable or disadvantaged young people benefited from Outfit Moray activities in the first year and now, 20 years later, it delivers more than 17,000 activity opportunities a year, supporting over 1,000 vulnerable or disadvantaged young people.
It continues to deliver a wide variety of high-quality provision, ensuring young people and families have affordable access to the outdoors, where they can learn, enjoy and engage with the wonderful countryside in Moray.
Outfit Moray Chair, Claire Alldritt said “I’m in no doubt that Outfit Moray’s success and longevity is attributed to the hard work of our staff and volunteers, as well as the support shown from the community.
The next 20 years
“The positive feedback we receive from young people, schools, and youth organisations proves we make a difference. Outfit Moray has evolved incredibly over the last 20 years and it has been a privilege to be involved with the development of the charity throughout this time. I am excited as to where the next 20 years may take us.”
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the youth charity has a special year of activities planned and will also be using the milestone to raise vital funds to replace their ageing minibuses.
Fundraiser, Karen Cox explains: “Two of our current minibuses are nearing the end of their useful lives and need replacing, but funding bids for vehicles are very difficult to secure. As part of our celebration year, we will be running a crowdfunding campaign to raise a deposit on a nearly-new minibus, so our participants can travel to and from their adventures in a more comfortable and environmentally-friendly vehicle.”
Trees for Life
CEO, Tony Brown, says, “To celebrate 20 years, we also want to give something back to the beautiful environment we work in, so have set up a grove through Trees for Life, thanks to our generous sponsors Fred.Olsen Renewables, and we will be able to add to our grove throughout the year. We also hope the people of Moray get behind our minibus crowdfunder to help us mark our 20th anniversary.”
Iain Jamieson finishes: “Outdoor learning and adventure is alive and well in Moray, stronger, better and more resilient than ever it was. Have we made a difference? Absolutely we have, and I would like to raise a toast to all who have joined in the Outfit Moray journey and still keep the passion burning.”
For more information on how to get involved and support Outfit Moray, please visit www.outfitmoray.com/twenty-years