Meet our Director of Scotland, Martin Davidson
Martin Davidson has worked for The Outward Bound Trust for 17 years having started at our Loch Eil Centre as an instructor before moving to Glasgow to set up and run the Mark Scott Leadership for Life Award and then four years ago moving into the new role of Scottish Director.
He enjoys spending time with his very active family, who can often be seen either out on their bikes, paddling in canoes or walking, enjoying the countryside. He's also a trustee with the newly formed social enterprise Glasgow Watersports, a new paddlesports centre in the heart of Glasgow, which includes Scotland's first artificial white water canoe course.
Describe what's involved in your role as Scottish Director?
It's a privilege to be the Scottish Director of The Trust. The role is extremely varied having responsibility for raising funds to support disadvantaged young people access our courses, engaging with politicians and senior people in national and local government and representing The Trust externally in Scotland.
We're also extremely fortunate to have the support and help of a dedicated group of volunteers in the form of the Scottish Council, who help us reach as many young people as possible.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
By far the most enjoyable and satisfying element of my job is seeing the difference The Trust makes to the lives of young people every week. Meeting participants and hearing how their course has helped them build confidence and unlock their potential, never ceases to motivate me.
Last year, a former participant of the Mark Scott Leadership for Life Award spoke at a donor thank you dinner at the Royal Yacht Britannia and it was particularly moving. She had half the room in tears as she described how The Trust had helped her gain confidence and the skills to realise what she was truly capable of achieving. The Trust does make a difference and whilst we have robust research to support this, listening to individual young people really does bring it to life.
Do you face any challenges in your role?
Fundraising is always a challenge. At The Trust we're committed to ensuring that our courses are accessible to those in society who can least afford them, but could also have the most to gain. I'm always looking to see how we can grow the funds to help remove cost as a barrier. We have many loyal and committed donors in Scotland but we are always seeking to engage more.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
Working with our Education Team I'll be focusing on increasing the number of young people participating on a course at our Loch Eil centre, near Fort William. We've capacity for an additional 500 to 750 young people a year, so to support this growth, I’ll be continuing to focus on increasing our bursary funds and our support work with schools. Concentrating with two specific projects, Scotland's Next Generation and the Mark Scott Leadership for Life Award.
Special moments/memories from your time with The Trust?
There are so many, but a couple to share include; firstly when I was an instructor at Loch Eil in 1998, I ran one of our 3-week expedition courses with a fantastic group that were up for every adventure. We would climb 2 or 3 Munroes a day and covered a huge part of the north west Highlands. The growth and development of the individuals in the group was inspiring to witness.
The second was the day I spent at The Shard in London in 2012 with our Trustees who were all abseiling down the outside to help raise £2 million. It was great to see our trustees be pushed out of their comfort zones as our participants are daily. They all still talk about the memories of the experience 2½ years on.
More information on supporting the work we do in Scotland, click here.