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By Staff Reporter

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YOUNGSTERS from Kinloss are having outdoor adventures thanks to £20,000 funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Trust.

Following an approach by the Army Welfare Services (AWS) at Kinloss Barracks, Outfit Moray successfully bid for a grant to take mixed groups of service dependants and local young people on excursions.

AWS spokesperson Sarah Magee explained: "We are fortunate 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 tell their stories and find the constant change difficult to manage. Enabling them affordable holiday programs creates learning opportunities, a chance to have fun with peers and supports positive mental health.

"There is a varied program of accredited courses including climbing, water sports, Bikeability and lots more. We have also included family sessions aimed at bringing families together."

The activities help facilitate the building of friendships and equip the 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.

Ms Magee added: "The Community Covenant Grant 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."

So far, the young people aged eight to18 have been working towards a paddle sport award, taking part in kayaking, canoeing and SUPping (stand up paddle boarding) at the mouth of the River Lossie and Loch Na Bo. They have also completed Bikeability 1 and 2 and will be on a walking course to achieve a National Navigation Award Scheme.

Outfit Moray CEO Tony Brown said: "Our aim is to encourage the development of friendships through shared learning between two groups of young people taking part in 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."



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