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September 24, 2014

A place in the country

Every so often, an opportunity comes along that seems almost too good to be true. For many years now, a youth group based in Muirhouse in the north of Edinburgh has been developing an extensive outdoors education programme. As their expertise in this area has grown they’ve started to cast around for somewhere in the country they could use as a base for their outdoors adventure based programme. An old school house in the beautiful hills outside Jedburgh has been sitting empty for long enough.



We believe in beautiful idyllic peaceful and natural wilderness spaces being accessible to everyone –Towford is just that. Photos

For many years now registered Scottish youth work Charity Muirhouse Youth Development Group (MYDG) and its Social Enterprise MY Adventure have been looking to secure a building, a bothy, a place that people can get away to and relax in – that is basic, comfortable and affordable. A place where young children can play safely but adventurously, in the outdoors, exploring Scotland’s natural heritage with their families and friends. A place where teenagers can get away from pressures and learn new skills. A place where groups of adults can build friendships but enjoy space to themselves. Towford Outdoor Centre, near Jedburgh, set in the beautiful remote yet accessible Scottish Borders, is the place we have been seeking.

Why are we crowdfunding for £6000 ?

The building has been empty and unused for 17 years. It urgently needs some heating and a rewire if it is to survive its first winter in our care. We also seek to make it more sustainable and more importantly more accessible to people with disabilities. Many of the old systems are now considered unsafe. The roof needs patching and the grounds have become hugely overgrown and inaccessible. We have a fantastic community of volunteers who can provide the labour (we are of course always looking for more, especially people with trade’s experience). However, funds are needed specifically to:

 • Put in a wood burning stove

 • Re-wire the building

 • Replace two windows

 • Up-grade the Shower/toilet block – making it accessible to people with disabilities

Crowdfunding is the best way to fund this project because we can offer amazing incentives including use of the building once it’s fully operational. We also need the funding urgently to complete the essentials for Towford to survive the Scottish winter. Please visit our crowdfunding page here where you can see a short video of Towford and find out why we are so excited about this project.

Towford Outdoor Centre lies in the upper Kale Valley, on the northern slopes of the Cheviot Hills and has been lent to MYDG absolutely free, initially for 10 years but for the longer term if we can sustain it and assure our landlord that people are using it. Formerly an Outdoor Education centre until 1996 when it was closed. Before that, it was a school from 1876 to 1964. The school log reads: on June 30th 1964 ‘Today is the last day of Towford School. We have closed today and will not be returning’. Lets return to this building a playful spirit and keenness to learn about the natural world, each other and ourselves!

You couldn’t find a better location for a Centre as Towford. Feeling remote but a mere 15 minutes from Jedburgh, the area contains an abundance of features of educational interest, quite apart from its out-standing potential for hill-walking and the beautiful conservation grade grounds. The area is typical of the Scottish Cheviot country, with its rolling hills and wide valleys, clear streams, shelterbelts and rich grazings. The widely scattered hamlets and hill-farms are linked by narrow, winding roads, little used but essential to settlement in the area. Roman remains, along with standing stones, hill forts, cultivation terraces and the like all add to the educational potential of the area. This area and this building with your help can make an outstanding contribution to the lives of many children, groups, adults and communities.

Your pledge will benefit many people from all different walks of life. The organisations who have already stated that they will use this fantastic facility is huge and includes groups who organise or fund:

 • Family Respite breaks

 • Parenting – family strengthening groups

 • Alternatives to Crime Projects

 • Self-Directed Support – personal breaks or activities

 • Affordable Family Holidays

 • Youth work residentials

 • Schools and college field trips

 • Duke of Edinburgh groups

 • Employability groups and ready-for-work programmes

 • Conservation Charities

 • Courses, Therapies and retreats


We are a ‘hands-on’ ‘can-do’ social enterprise that look for creative and sustainable ways of changing young people’s lives – we do this on a daily basis.

We can organise huge teams of volunteers (we have successfully done so on many projects). This keeps costs down to a minimum (materials & technical advice only). Due to this tremendous social capital your pledge will go far beyond how you imagined – making a huge difference to the long term prospect of this wonderful building becoming the source of so many positive memories and life-changing experiences.

You have the opportunity to help create something that will benefiting thousands of people every year – year on year.

 Please pledge generously and remember – we’re not asking for something for nothing – you, your friends and family will love the rewards for your pledges that are exclusive to TIC TOC backers.

 Your generosity will help to benefit thousands in the years to come.

 Thank you