Generouos gift of land for new outdoor learning centre

Ian Rideout (left) and Mark Tennant . Picture: submitted
Ian Rideout (left) and Mark Tennant . Picture: submitted
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A Moray landowner has gifted 100 acres of land and buildings to help a charity construct a centre for outdoor learning.

It is yet another example of how private landowners are playing a vital role in their communities, according to Scottish Land & Estates.

Mark Tennant, the owner of the Innes Estate, has made the generous offer of leasing the land for 35 years at just £1 per year to the award winning charity, Outfit Moray.

The site, located to the south east of Lossiemouth, previously functioned as a Ministry of Defence airfield from World War II until its later role as a communications facility ceased in 2007.

Following the Innes Estate’s purchase of the MoD land, Mr Tennant has given 100 acres to Outfit Moray that will allow the charity to create a headquarters at the site complete with Community Outdoor Learning & Adventure Hub.

The development is expected to cost around £2million, with a target completion date for phase one of January 2017.

Now in its 13th year, Outfit Moray has worked with more than 14,000 children and young people to build confidence, self-esteem and resilience whilst providing positive role models and encouraging the acquisition of life skills and new experiences through challenge and positive risk taking.

Mark Tennant the owner of the Innes Estate said: “I really want what we are doing here to be an example of how landowners can work in partnership with community and charitable groups.

It is not always about trying to buy land for community use when landowners are happy to make land available for projects that will make such a huge a difference to the lives of others.

I am giving what is a significant part of an old airfield for what is, I believe, a unique and well planned project that will benefit large numbers of vulnerable children and young people, not just in Moray but across Scotland. I am absolutely delighted to be able to help make this happen.”

Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “This is a wonderful initiative and Innes Estate and Outfit Moray should be congratulated for their partnership that will deliver for decades to come for the community in the Lossiemouth area.

“All too often we hear misguided commentary that suggests landowners are detached from their local communities but Mark has illustrated exactly how inaccurate that narrative is.”

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He added: “It is clear that Innes Estate not only want to assist Outfit Moray but really value the work that they do for young people in the region. They undoubtedly identify the benefits of facilitating positive local development and that is something we should all applaud.

“Frequently we see private landowners being pitted against community ownership as part of the ill-informed rhetoric surrounding land reform.

“Innes Estate’s partnership is but one example of how landowners are helping it happen across Scotland, with hundreds of more instances. The task for us is to make sure their contribution is properly recognised.”