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Youth Work Charity Is Celebrating 20 Years

A youth work charity in Greenock which helps young people realise their potential is celebrating 20 years.

Ocean Youth Trust Scotland takes youngsters aged between 12 and 25 on residential sailing voyages and is Riverside Inverclyde's tenant at Victoria House Business Centre in Greenock.

More than 700 people from a range of backgrounds sail each year for five or seven days at a time.

Bosses at the organisation estimate that since 1999 they have supported around 14,000 young people and sailed around 250,000 miles, which equals over 10 times around the world.

Chief executive Nick Fleming says the birthday milestone is well worth marking.

He said:

“The most rewarding thing is seeing the impact that the trips have on the young people.

"They really grow in confidence, start to work as a team and discover hidden talents.

“People get a lot out of it.”

To celebrate 20 years the trust has organised a number of events to take place throughout the year.

One of the young people who volunteer with OYTS, Yasmin Price, 17, will host the seminar at which 150 people are expected to attend.

Later in the year members of OYTS will take part in the annual Arran Sportive charity cycling event and fundraising dinner will be held in November to thank people for their continued support.

There will also be a 'pop up museum' documenting the impact the trust has made over the past 20 years and showcasing some of their most treasured moments.

As well as celebrating the past, staff are also appealing for funds to help ensure the trust can continue to deliver voyages for the next 20 years.

They are hoping to get 200 people to sign up to each raise £200.

The money raised throughout the year will be used to pay for a midlife refit for one of the charity's two boats, Alba Venturer.

Fundraising and communications officer, Christie McAlpine, said:

“Reflecting back on the past 20 years, we are reminded of the impact that the Trust has had on so many people.

“Those who sailed with OYT Scotland as a teenager back in 1999 are now in their 30s with lives and careers. Some have stuck around and now sail with as volunteers and skippers.

“Although 20 years have passed since the first group of young people set sail with OYT Scotland, the core of what the Trust does has remained the same, to broaden horizons and develop young people."

Anyone interested in finding out more about OYTS, fundraising or volunteering can contact them on 01475 722722.

This article and image appeared in Greenock Telegraph

Published: 9 February 2019