A SAILING charity in Glasgow offering training for young people has been awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds of cash seized from criminals.

Ocean Youth Trust Scotland will use the £375,000 from the CashBack for Communities scheme to fund a project to help hundreds of people with personal development training.

Kenny MacAskill, Justice Secretary, announced the funding when he visited the project in Glasgow.

The trust will provide sail training to 576 young people over the next three years under its New Horizons programme.

The course involves residential voyages designed to provide an environment for personal development. It aims to help young people build their confidence, responsibility, resilience and ability to work as part of a team.

Mr MacAskill said: "This project is a fantastic opportunity for young people across Scotland to develop unique skills, build confidence and gain vital experience to better equip them for the rest of their lives.

"It also gives young people living next to our beautiful coastline, but who have never before left dry land, their first adventure on the high seas.

"It is particularly gratifying that The Ocean Youth Trust Horizons project is being funded through the ill-gotten gains of the very criminals who seek to cause misery in Scotland's communities."

The trust said the cash would help it to work with young people whose lives have been impacted by crime.

Nick Fleming, the trusts' chief executive, said: "The Scottish Government has long been a supporter of our work. This fantastic news means we can work with far more young people, especially those affected by crime and disorder, and help them to use their sail training experience to build their skills."

Greer Robertson, 21, from Wemyss Bay, is taking part in the trust's Young Leaders Programme.

She said: "My mum suggested I get involved with OYT. On my first youth voyage I sailed 267 miles to Vatersay and Skye.

"I've been accepted on the Young Leaders Programme and will be doing the Challenge Voyage later this month, sailing as one of the 12 crew from Norway's Arctic Circle to Inverness. I can't wait to get started.

"I really enjoy working with other young people. The sailing has really helped my confidence and I'm getting work experience in OYT's office and volunteering with the local Shore Group which will help me build my CV for future employment."

stewart.paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk