Media Release: Arbroath kids first to enjoy new youth outdoor learning programme


SYHA Hostelling Scotland and The Gannochy Trust have teamed up to offer a new outdoor learning residential programme for 40 young people from Perth and Tayside to add to SYHA’s growing youth programme portfolio.

The first group of youngsters, plus leaders from youth groups at Arbroath Academy, spent two nights at Loch Ossian Youth Hostel participating in outdoor activities such as a night walk, team building challenges and raft building.

Loch Ossian is one of SYHA’s eco-hostels, in the remote but beautiful setting of Rannoch Moor.

The activities are being led by SYHA’s partners at Venture Mor. A second group from The Gannochy Trust programme were based at Pitlochry Youth Hostel this week, with activities delivered by Beyond Adventure.

Erik Robertson, communities officer and leader on the Loch Ossian trip, says: “Most of these youngsters have never been on holiday, or even outside the Angus area. Many of them don’t have the confidence to participate in clubs or activities out with school.

As a youth worker, I am aware of the benefits that group work and outdoor education can bring to young people.

“In partnership with Arbroath Academy I currently run groups focusing on environmental issues, personal development, employability, arts and introducing children into youth services. Taking these young people away is an amazing experience for them, opening up a world of travel and the outdoors that they are just not aware exists.”

As well as the trips in partnership with The Gannochy Trust, in 2015 SYHA Youth Programmes will give: 240 children the chance to take part in the Give Us A Break programme sponsored by Provident Financial; 80 S2 and S3 pupils will have the opportunity to go on a ScottishPower Foundation ‘Life and Employability Skills (Through Outdoor Learning)’ residential trip; and SYHA will offer more youngsters the chance to experience an action-packed time away from home on its own programme, funded by generous donations from guests and SYHA members.

SYHA Hostelling Scotland CEO, Keith Legge, says: “Partnering with The Gannochy Trust enables us to deliver a new programme for Perth and Tayside – time and again we see that, for many youngsters, these residential trips prove to be a life changing experience. The outdoor learning experience offers the children new challenges, broadens their horizons and provides the chance to improve their skills, confidence and self esteem.”

For The Gannochy Trust programme, the outdoor learning programmes at Loch Ossian and Pitlochry are designed to help young people to improve their skills for life including:

  • confidence building
  • improving individual resilience
  • providing an appreciation of a healthy lifestyle through physical activity
  • enhancing collaborative working
  • developing independence
  • inspiring a sense of social responsibility
  • creating environmental and nature awareness.

For further information, visit SYHA’s website ( or contact Donna Thompson on 01786 891 370.

For downloadable images of the youth groups from Arbroath Academy at Loch Ossian Youth Hostel go to:


Notes to editors:

About SYHA Hostelling Scotland

Established in 1931, SYHA Hostelling Scotland is a self-funding charity operating a network of nearly 70 exceptional youth and affiliate hostels for the benefit of all those wishing to learn and experience what Scotland has to offer. Our unique sites provide affordable, comfortable, safe and quality-assured accommodation with a warm friendly welcome, local knowledge, activities and services for guests travelling around Scotland.

As a not for profit organisation we encourage guests to join SYHA Hostelling Scotland, which is free to everyone under 16 and students in full-time education. Members enjoy a range of exclusive benefits including dual membership of Hostelling International, providing access to more than 4,000 youth hostels in 90 countries worldwide.

About The Gannochy Trust

Founded in 1937 by Arthur Kinmond Bell, known as A K Bell, for charitable and public purposes for the benefit of the Community of Perth and its immediate environs as a direct result of his family’s successful whisky distilling business. The Gannochy Trust’s Grant-Making Mission is ‘To make a positive difference for the benefit of people living in Scotland, with a preference for Perth & Kinross’.

Media contact: Jane Mackie, SYHA Hostelling Scotland,, 01786 891306.

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