Charity backing means thrills and spills for kids

Youngsters enjoyed a wide range of activities during the three-day trip.
Youngsters enjoyed a wide range of activities during the three-day trip.

Fifteen disadvantaged young people from across North Lanarkshire enjoyed an action-packed trip thanks to a Bellshill volunteering project.

The North Lanarkshire Befriending Project, run by the national Volunteering Matters charity, secured funding for the three-day trip from Children in Need.

The charity stumped up £10,000 to cover the cost of the visit, as well as a further five-day trip in the summer.

On this occasion, the group headed to Abernethy Ardeonaig, an outdoor adventure centre in rural Perthshire on the south side of Loch Tay.

Youngsters, aged nine to 17, took part in a wide range of activities such as archery, orienteering, gorge walking, kayaking and raft building.

Volunteer manager Ross Thomson said: “We are over the moon that Children in Need provided funding for our project to go on this important trip.

“It was a resounding success, with young people getting to experience things for the first time, make new friends, challenge themselves and grow in confidence, self-esteem and resilience.

“Trips like this allow young people to realise their potential, and this was evident first-hand at Abernethy Ardeonaig.

“Every single participant thrived and should be proud – they are a credit to their families and communities, but most importantly to themselves.”

The North Lanarkshire Befriending Project is a highly regarded volunteer programme, set up in 1999 to support young people aged eight to 18 who are in contact with social services and face significant life challenges, including domestic abuse or neglect, parental drug and alcohol abuse, bullying, social isolation and educational under-achievement.

Volunteer befrienders build strong relationships with the young people through leisure outings.

The project offers young people the opportunity to try new experiences and gain independent living skills, resulting in more positive life aspirations and resilience in the face of adversity.

The group is currently looking for new volunteer befrienders.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer is urged to call Ross Thomson on 01698 574 575 or send an e-mail