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Ocean Youth Trust Scotland buoyed by £375K Cashback for Communities funding

Young people set to embark on adventure by sea thanks to latest funding phase

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The Scottish Government today announced that £375,000 of CashBack for Communities funding is being awarded to Ocean Youth Trust Scotland to create life changing opportunities for young people across the country.

The money is the latest award from the third phase of CashBack funding, which has so far seen over £74m invested and committed to projects and initiatives across Scotland since its inception in 2007.

National sail training charity, Ocean Youth Trust Scotland, will use the grant to fund New Horizons, a three year national project to provide sail training opportunities for 576 young people in Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill made the announcement while meeting Nick Fleming, Chief Executive of Ocean Youth Trust Scotland, and Greer Robertson, an Ocean Youth Trust volunteer. They were on board the Alba Volunteer which will sail up the Clyde as part of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games flotilla.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny McAskill, said: "This project is a fantastic opportunity for young people across Scotland to develop unique skills, build confidence and gain vital experience to better equip them for the rest of their lives. This also gives young people living next to our beautiful coastline, but who have never before left dry land, their first adventure on the high seas.

"They join a growing generation who are benefitting from more than £74million Cashback for Communities funding which has been invested or committed since 2008 for a whole range of sports, cultural and other activities for Scotland's young people.

"It is particularly gratifying that The Ocean Youth Trust Horizons project is being funded through the ill-gotten gains of the very criminals who seek to cause misery in Scotland's communities.

"I wish all the participants well as they set sail towards new horizons."

The project will run residential voyages aimed at providing an effective environment for personal development. In working through the voyage syllabus, New Horizons aims to help young people build their confidence, responsibility, resilience and ability to work as part of a team.

Over the last four years OYT Scotland has received £72k of CashBack funds through YouthLink Scotland, working with 177 young people in eight local authority areas. The latest phase of funding from CashBack will enable Ocean Youth Trust to roll out the New Horizons project to 16 local authorities in 2015 and all 32 local authorities by 2016, helping to create lasting opportunities for young people across the country.

The new announcement signals the biggest direct Government grant for the charity and will help to deliver positive outcomes to all young people involved in the project across Scotland, particularly those who are at risk of becoming involved in anti-social behaviour.

Nick Fleming, Chief Executive of Ocean Youth Trust, said: "The Scottish Government has long been a supporter of our work. This fantastic news means we can work with far more young people, especially those affected by crime and disorder, and help them to use their sail training experience to build their skills, broaden their horizons and move into positive destinations."

One of the many young people across Scotland who has benefited from Ocean Youth Trust's CashBack for Communities funding is Greer Robertson, 21, from Wemyss Bay.

Greer was accepted onto the Young Leaders Development Programme - a volunteer programme for young people to build their leadership and sailing skills. She is now embarking on her own voyage to find employment and feels that the Ocean Youth Trust Development Programme will present her, and others young Scots, with a great opportunity to learn and develop skills that will benefit her in the future.

She said: "My mum suggested I get involved with OYT. On my first youth voyage I sailed 267 miles out to Vatersay and Skye. I've now been accepted on to the Trust's Young Leaders Development Programme and will be doing the Challenge Voyage later this month - sailing as one of the twelve crew from Norway's Arctic Circle to Inverness. That'll be about 1,000 miles – I can't wait to get started.

"I really enjoy working with other young people. The sailing has really helped my confidence and I'm getting work experience in OYT's office and volunteering with the local Shore Group which will help me build my CV for future employment."

Cashback for Communities takes money from criminals and reinvests it in schemes and projects to benefit communities throughout Scotland to allow them to flourish.