East Lothian children’s charity ransacked by ruthless kayak thieves

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An East Lothian children’s charity has been devastated to find thousands of pounds of outdoor equipment stolen from their premises in Musselburgh.

Heartless thieves opened the metal containers housing the water activity equipment the charity relies on for the children who use the services.

Claire and Antony behind the charity Venturing Out were shocked and saddened today to discover the theft of kayaks, paddleboards and paddleboards.

This equipment is mainly used for sessions with children with additional support needs. It is also used for school holiday program activities and with school groups.

With the arrival of spring, organizers are concerned about the effect this will have on children and their families who rely on this service to get out and spend some well-deserved quality time together.

Venturing Out is a non-profit organization based in East Lothian. They run an extensive supply of outdoor activities for children with additional needs, providing year-round access to adventurous activities such as paddleboarding, kayaking and bushcraft.

Children attend with their parents, guardians and siblings, with everyone participating in the activity at the same time.

Michelle Scott, who attends regularly with her 12-year-old daughter, said: “I’m devastated this has happened to Venturing Out.

“Our 12 year old daughter, Tilly, has a rare genetic condition resulting in many additional support needs (severe learning disability, autism, reduced mobility, non-verbal to name a few), and finding activities that we can do as a family is extremely difficult. .

“We have been attending the sessions offered by Venturing Out for a few years and honestly we owe them a lot. They give us the opportunity to have fun with our BOTH children, and we have seen Tilly’s confidence grow since we started the sessions with them.

“The theft of their equipment is a blow to the community they work with.”

The mum-of-two has started a fundraising page to replace stolen equipment which amounts to around £4,000, they have raised £600 so far.

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Carrie Murray, another mother who uses the charity, said: “My two autistic sons benefit enormously from the work of this organisation. It gives them access to activities they wouldn’t otherwise have access to and that’s wonderful. for their trust.”

Antony Stone, Director of Operations, added: “We were gutted to discover the theft of this vital equipment today. We therefore use it regularly with many groups, but mainly with children with additional support needs.

“SUPs in particular are incredibly stable on the water for youngsters and by far the most popular pieces of equipment we have. With spring fast approaching it will be really difficult to replace these items.

“There has been an unprecedented demand for outdoor equipment during lockdown which has made it very difficult to obtain equipment. We have been overwhelmed by the public response to this and appreciate every comment and offer of support we have had.”

“At approximately 11.55am on Wednesday 19th January 2022, police received a report of a storage container having been broken into and a number of paddle boards and kayaks stolen from Levenhall Links Leisure Park, Musselburgh. “Investigations are ongoing.”

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