Ocean Youth Trust Scotland (OYT Scotland), Scotland’s leading sail training organisation, will transform more than 480 young people’s lives over two years thanks to a £375,000 award from the “CashBack for Communities” scheme – the Scottish Government’s proceeds of crime fund.
The participants from disadvantaged backgrounds across Scotland will take part in 5-day long sea voyages in some of the world’s best sailing waters. During the voyage, the novice sailors will gain nationally accredited qualifications, improve their communication and problem-solving skills.
The first of the 48 voyages which included 10 young people and 2 group leaders from Midlothian Community Learning & Development Team arrived back at James Watt Dock in Greenock on Friday 8th May.
Nick Fleming, Chief Executive of OYT Scotland said: “Our voyages offer young people a truly unique and life changing opportunity. Over the course of a very intense week, living together in close proximity, they not only learn to sail, they learn leadership skills and how to work effectively as a team.
“This first trip has been a huge success. Our sea-staff, comprising both professionals and volunteers, understand how to get the best from each individual. This results in young people often being able to achieve things they never imagined they were capable of and changing their outlook on what the future could hold”.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Investing in our young people is always money well spent and I am delighted that the Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities programme is providing this valuable funding for worthy projects across Scotland.
“This Government is committed to ensuring young people reach their full potential. The vast majority of them are a credit to society but we want to prevent the small minority getting involved in crime or antisocial behaviour in the first place.
“Scotland’s unique CashBack for Communities programme invests monies seized from criminals back into our communities. Since 2008, we’ve committed £75 million community initiatives right across the country, improving lives and helping Scotland prosper.”
Over the past 50 years, Greenock-based OYT Scotland has grown to become one of the leading sail training charities in the world. With two sail training vessels, Alba Explorer and Alba Venturer, OYT Scotland completed 57 voyages with 569 young people in 2014.
Jodie L, Young person on the voyage said: “This has been an amazing experience for me. I feel so much more confident and mature. After the week on the boat, I feel there’s no problem I can’t handle.”
Jodie H, Young person on the voyage said: “Completing this voyage with all its ups and down is better than anything I have ever done in my life. We all became like a family, the first family I have ever had! And the great thing is I will be taking these friendships with me off the boat. We have already exchanged numbers and will definitely stay in touch.”
For more information on the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities scheme go to www.cashbackforcommunities.org