History of Outfit Moray
In 1996 at the time of re-organisation of local government in Scotland, many outdoor facilities and centres operated by local councils were closed, including in Moray, as it was no longer possible to continue to fund these services. In 2002, the New Opportunities Fund (NOF Lottery funding) was made available through local councils.
At that time, Iain Jamieson was a director of Elgin Youth Development Group. He had previously been the regional organiser for outdoor education in Grampian and saw an opportunity to revive outdoor education in Moray. Iain worked closely with Neil Millward, who was the lead for the Elgin Youth Development Group, and with Anne Dunn, who was the Sports Development Officer with Moray Council, as well as John Murray, who was a senior social worker with a very active interest in encouraging young people to develop skills through outdoor learning.
A business case was developed and many stakeholders, including Janice Thomson, who was the Duke of Edinburgh Co-ordinator in Moray and Moray Youth Action were consulted as the plan began to take root. The final business plan was presented to the Moray New Opportunities Fund assessment panel, who accepted the proposal.
We opened our doors on 7th April 2003, and were very first project to start delivering a programme of outdoor activities through the New Opportunities Fund scheme. The fund lasted three years but in year two, the Outfit Moray team began to work on raising new funds to continue the project. This was a critical time and additional funding was secured.
Initially we were part of Elgin Youth Development Group (a charitable social enterprise) and were based in an office within Elgin Youth Café, with the equipment store located in the old beer cellar in what was a closed hotel in Pinefield Industrial Estate. By 2006, we had outgrown the space at Elgin Youth Café and, with the blessing of Elgin Youth Development Group, we were established as a charity in our own right, operating as a company limited by guarantee, and moved to portacabins adjacent to the equipment store in Pinefield.
In October 2008, Outfit Moray moved to more suitable premises on Shore Street in Lossiemouth and we have been here ever since, with our social enterprise project, Bike Revolution, opening in 2012. Bike Revolution quickly became a venue of choice for local cyclists, for a whole range of biking services and activities. We exceeded its projected three-year financial targets within two years.
In November 2010, we were honoured to receive the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK, The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
In the first year of operating, Outfit Moray worked with about 200 young people and were delivering three activity sessions per week but, by our 20th anniversay in 2023, we were offering over 17,000 activity opportunities a year across more than 1,600 outdoor learning or Bikeability sessions, supporting over 1,000 vulnerable or disadvantaged young people, and we continue to deliver a wide variety of high quality provision, with a caring delivery, ensuring young people and families have affordable access to the outdoors, where they can learn, enjoy and engage with the wonderful countryside in Moray.