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  • Writer's pictureIliyas Campbell

Hedzup receives £9.9k from the National Lottery to help develop Glenesk Outdoor Centre

Local charity group, Hedzup, is today celebrating after being awarded almost £10,000 in National Lottery funding to support its work with a wide variety of young people from primary age to 16plus.

The charity, based in Edzell was established in 2008 by its chairman, Ian Pert, supported by Euan Stewart, a local police officer, and Hazel Coutts, who were members of Angus Council Local Multi Agency Resource Team [LMART].

Hedzup currently operates out of two bases- a motorcycle workshop in Forfar and its outdoor centre in Glen Esk in the beautiful Angus Glens.

Hedzup offers young people a variety of opportunities to become involved in projects which help develop individual and team working skills, encouraging them to build confidence and experience , while helping local communities and, for the older youths, employability skills.

The lottery grant will be used to further develop our Outdoor Centre at Glen Esk, which is located on the site of a former cadet camp on land belonging to the Myles family, also great supporters of Hedzup.

Hedzup was originally created round a motorcycle racing team project, which provided young people with the skills and confidence to build motorcycles and act as the pit crew for the Hedzup team in races in Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. This aspect of Hedzup remains an important part of its work with young people and we now have two members of the team who are qualified to race our bikes in the competitions we enter. Our young people also support races here and overseas, including races on the world famous TT course on the Isle of Man as volunteer marshalls.

The Hedzup project is now set up as a not for profit company with charity status and works with a variety of groups across a wide age range of activities form History days and nature visits through our collaborative work with Brechin School Cluster Pupil Equity Fund Resource team led by Jean Forsythe and our use of Murton Educational Trust, to our construction groups with unemployed youths from Dundee and Angus working alongside “Youth Employability Service Dundee”and “Angus 16 plus” whilst other groups are learning about the fantastic flaura and fauna of the area, hill walking, mountain biking, navigation, bushcraft and introducing youths to the amazing wildlife on our doorstep.

Hedzup runs as often as 7 days a week when race season is on, and our projects can be attended by up to 50 young people a week. The sessions with the younger age groups help the children to make friends, while learning new skills and having fun. While enjoyable, the children are also gaining greater confidence, self-belief and important collaboration skills. The older groups can be learning important skills to help them start on the employment ladder with some youths leaving with qualifications in Health and Safety, first aid, Manual handling, Use and care of Abrasive Wheels, working at heights and other industry recognized certificates. Some of our groups continue on to sit their CSCS Card with our support and to date we have had over 60 youths continue onto full time employment after being part of our very successful construction courses run in conjunction with Discover Work Service Dundee.

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will see Hedzup improve the development of the outdoor centre and will give us a fantastic base to be able to improve our activities and range of learning possibilities.

Hedzup is exploring developing its client base to include work with families and adults as this has been proven to be very beneficial within the community.

Ian Pert, founder of Hedzup, says: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to [press on with our plans at the outdoor centre and to broaden the range of opportunities available to local children and youths.

A recent testimonial from one of our primary 6 pupils reads

“ This has been my favourite part of the year so far- from gutting fish and cooking it on an open fire at the side of a river , to learning about Scotlands history from the iron age through Roman times, William Wallace and more- I’ve had a great time with Hedzup, wish it was every week”

Another from one of our older youths-

“ Little did I think 8 years ago working on motorbikes in a cold garage on a Friday night would end up with me on the starting grid in Ireland on a 650cc bike that I was involved in building as a 12 year old! “

And this message was received just the other day-

“ Hey Ian, you may not remember me but I was part of your Hedzup racing back in 2015/16, I never really got round to ever thanking you for being a positive influence on giving me something to aim for, I just wanted to let you know I’ve been able to turn my life around and I’m finally happy, so yeah, thank you again for having a positive influence on me and a lot of other people too.”

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