Our Current Projects

FOTA aims to support all young people aged 10 - 24 years in Edinburgh and the Lothian's to participate in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE) and the Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS). 

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Launched in 2006, this project works in partnership with NHS Lothians, Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) to support young people with experience of Mental Health difficulties engaged at CAMHS to participate in the DofE. The project has developed a community based mentoring scheme for young people who have left CAMHS but would like to complete their Award.

Funding has been secured from Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation to support this project through to 2017. We aim to support and mentor 25 young people per year through their Duke of Edinburgh's Award. We are planning to new section activities for our participants including the 'On yer bike' programme with Edinburgh City Council, Outdoor Learning at Bangholm and Care of Horses programme with Riding for the Disabled.

Examples of our previous projects:

Neigh Bother
Over the summer of 2016, a number of young people attending our Neigh Bother programme. The group volunteered as part of their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh's Award, supporting Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled. Throughout this programme the group learnt how to care for the horses physical and mental health through grooming, poo-picking, and leading them in the paddocks. They also learnt how to ride the horses to keep them fit. The group have had a great laugh, and enjoyed some parts more than others!!

FOTA's On Yer Bike took a group of five young men out on the cycle trails of Edinburgh, and will be included as part of the Physical Section of their Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

Paul Newman, City of Edinburgh Council, Bangholm, Outdoor Education Complex taught them how to size bikes, making sure they are safe to ride and bike maintenance.  The group then cycled out to Crammond and braced them for jumps and see-saw work, after which they were exhausted! Other work done includes a visit to the Vat run in South Queensferry, and out on the trails much further afield.

"I'm glad K wants to push on with the award. He seems in a better place emotionally than a year ago" Clinical Psychologist

Contact: Emma Locke, Development Officer: emma.locke@fota.org.uk | 0131 467 4753

Youth Development Project

Following funding from The Robertson Trust, our Youth Development Project aims to support 50 young people from disadvantaged and marginalised backgrounds from Edinburgh to participate in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award. We aim to increase opportunity for disadvantaged young people to participate in their Duke of Edinburgh's Award, reducing social isolation, as well as increasing access to education and training opportunities. By completing their different sections, participants will have the option to complete additional awards such as the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Leadership programme, Sports Leader Award, First Aid. This will increase self confidence and willingness to participate in new learning opportunities. 

Current Projects:

Dogs Trust
In July 2016 the YDP group attended the Dogs Trust centre in West Calder. The trip finished off the groups Skills section for Bronze on learning how to care for dogs. We'd like to say a special thanks to Rachel at Dogs Trust for teaching the group and taking us on a tour of the centre - which included meeting the lovely Jura, a Collie Cross (Border)!'

Art Project

In partnership with Dunedin Canmore Youth Projects we are running a series of art sessions at the Slateford Green Youth Cafe. These are on alternate Wednesdays, 6 - 8pm. We would like to thank our art tutor Alex Weir, who is currently studying at Edinburgh Art College.


"I feel I have gained independance from doing DofE" Participant

Contact: Mo Odling, Development Officer: mo.odling@fota.org.uk | 0131 467 4753. 

Thanks to our funders:

Jeremy Willson Charitable Trust

Midlothian Schools Project 

Jo Fitzpatrick and Christine Chesterman have just started an exciting new project, working with some ‘hard to reach learners’ in Midlothian schools. It is a FOTA and Midlothian Council collaboration and is part funded through the Pupil equity fund. They are working with 6 schools running the Junior Award Scheme for schools (JASS) and Duke of Edinburgh awards, with a total of approximately 60 students; the schools involved are St David’s RC School, Newbattle High School, Saltersgate High School, Penicuik High School, Beeslack High School and Lasswade High School.

The aim of the programme is for the pupils to develop interpersonal skills including communication, teamwork and problem solving, and to develop the self-confidence to face future life challenges, all while gaining their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award, or a Gold JASS Award.


Christine Chesterman, Schools Delivery Officer: christine.chesterman@fota.org.uk  

Jo Fitzpatrick, Schools Delivery Officer: jo.fitzpatrick@fota.org.uk




FOTA Inclusive Expeditions 2017/18

FOTA aims to support 25 young people with additional support needs to complete their expedition Section during this season. Priority will be given to young people engaged in FOTA targeted youth projects and will be opened out to young people across DofE Network. 

We are delighted to have received funding this season from Christina Hendrie Trust, The Robertson Trust, Edinburgh and Lothian's Health Foundation, Allander Trust and Andy Fanshawe Trust. 

We rely on volunteer support and additional funding for this work. Please support us to help us deliver this work. 

"Having a group of mixed ability, and coping with additional challenges it provided, has developed my patience for more individuals and inspired me to push further than what's expected of me in everything that I do."  Gold Open Expedition Participant.  


Contact: Neil Birch, Expedition Co-ordinator: neil.birch@fota.org.uk | 0131 467 4753




Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS)

Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS) is a progressive learning programme for young people which has been designed to recognise wider achievement. A key aim has been to meet the challenges of the transition from primary to secondary but in practice it can be used at either level as well as with wider age groups in Additional Support Need settings. The objectives of the JASS programme are aligned with the wider learning objectives of the Curriculum for Excellence, The Outdoor Challenge, and Key Stages 2 and 3 of the National Curriculum, making it easy to run alongside and incorporate existing curricular activities.

JASS develops the whole individual by offering recognition in four key areas – regular physical activity (Get Active, Stay Active), exploring a personal interest (My Interests), working for the good of the community or the environment (Me and My World) and completing an outdoor activity or challenge (Adventure) and is designed so that participants move from Bronze, to Silver and then to Gold with increasing levels of, commitment, learning, and challenge.

"The JASS programme's clearest beneift is to encourage and support students to take on new challenges and learn from them. Its requirement to think about activities before and afterwards increases learning potential of each of these activities" Primary School Teacher

Contact: Joan Alexander, Development Officer: joan@jasschools.org.uk | 0131 538 4028