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Young New Scots loved life on the open water

Posted on 16 Nov 2023

A group of adventurous young New Scots have enjoyed sailing round the Western Isles thanks to a collaboration with North Ayrshire Council.

The Council’s New Scots team partnered with Arygll and Bute Council to give a group the opportunity to enjoy a voyage with the Ocean Youth Trust (OYT) that was sponsored by a generous volunteer.

The North Ayrshire contingent took to the water for five days recently with other New Scots from Oban and Dunoon – and they enjoyed it so much they want more of the same.

Before setting sail, they enjoyed a team-building residential at Ardentinny Outdoor Education Centre near Dunoon.

Young Ukrainian and Syrian people involved in projects supported by the Council’s New Scots staff were approached to take part in the voyage – players at The Swans football team, which is made up of girls of secondary school age of all nationalities and meets at Kilwinning Football Academy, those involved in a film-making project and boys who also play football.

The six who took part in the residential were Lana Hajeh, Lana Shvorak, Sofia Medvedchuk, Ibrahim Al Hussein, Osama Shabrak and Anton Muskovoz.

They initially learned about team building and how to fill in a logbook, and also enjoyed gorge walking, climbing and abseiling.

Lucy Russell, who is a Council Locality Link Worker with New Scots and attended the residential course, said: “At Ardentinny, the young people had to work, eat, sleep and have fun together, so they built a strong bond.

“They worked well together, and forged a bond between themselves and the other New Scots by encouraging each other to try new things and supporting each other when they found activities challenging.

“Unfortunately, one person had to pull out ahead of the sailing from James Watt Dock in Greenock.

“On the voyage, they learned how to work as a team and learned skills in sailing, navigation and tying knots. The completion of the voyage and their logbooks counted as an initial qualification for the OYT.

“And the OYT offers them an opportunity to get a bosun qualification, which means they could become volunteers with the Trust. The group enjoyed it all so much that they have asked me for more adventures like this one!”

The feedback from the New Scots was very positive, with Anton saying: “Thanks for this beautiful trip, it was a really new experience for me.”

The Council follows and respects The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to ensure that all children’s rights are respected and that they are free to learn, play and develop.

Article 31 of the Convention states that each child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities – and the voyage experience is a great example of this being put into practice.

Councillor Alan Hill, Cabinet Member for Communities and Islands, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for some of the young New Scots living in North Ayrshire to see a different part of Scotland, meet new people and learn some valuable skills.

“I am sure it is a trip they will remember for a long time. Well done to everyone involved.”