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Island youth take on the CalMac Challenge

Twelve young people from the Lewis and Harris Youth Club Association set themselves a CalMac Challenge to develop their team building skills.

The group aged between 11 and 13 gathered at Scaladale Outdoor Centre to plan a two day biking and kayaking adventure with a wild-camp stop over on nearby uninhabited Seaforth Island. The trip was made possible thanks to an award from ferry operator CalMac's Community Fund Last year, CalMac's Community Fund was open to youth organisations based in a mainland port or island the company serves who can apply for £500 to £2000.

So far the Fund has supported 76 projects from woman's football in the Outer Hebrides, to the Campbeltown Sea Cadets and a Gaelic youth club on Skye.

CalMac's Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Gordon McKillop said: 'We were impressed by ambition of this project to build young peoples outdoor skills and giving them a taste of what it's like to work as part of team. The great outdoors is one of the Hebrides great assets and we're delighted to be helping enable local young people take advantage of what on their doorstep.'

CalMac challenge

Picture shows: The Lewis and Harris Youth Association prepares to set off on their adventure.

Last year CalMac's 33-strong fleet carried more than 5.6 million passengers and 1.4 million vehicles across 26 islands and remote mainland locations. Split into two teams, one cycling and one kayaking, by the time the groups reached their island destination it was dark and they had to work together to pitch the camp and cook for themselves. The following day the two teams swapped modes of transport for the return journey.

'Both teams had been proactive in solving the challenges that the adventure threw at them, and all the young people came away feeling that the experience had been amazing, and great for their confidence. We had a celebration meeting with certificates, and the children reflected on how the experience had affected them,' said Kate Lewis, Centre Manager and Outdoor Educator at Scaladale Activity Centre.

The CalMac Community Fund will re-open for applications later in 2020.

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