An outdoor project for young people partially intended as a lasting tribute to tragic toddler Mikaeel Kular has been given a fresh funding boost.
Muirhouse-based MY Adventure (MYA) has been handed £25,000 to help construct a new training base for disadvantaged teenagers at a rural venue in the Borders.
The retreat – which will include gardens named after Mikaeel – will see the dilapidated Towford Centre, near Jedburgh, transformed into a bustling community hub catering for youngsters from Muirhouse and Drylaw.
The upgrades will include a play park for younger children as well as the installation of a wood burning stove, shower room improvements and better disabled access – with the renovation marking the first time the 19th century former school has been brought into use for 17 years.
James Howell, director of MYA – which is run by Muirhouse Youth Development Group – said the cash windfall would allow the outdoor centre to “realise its potential”.
He said: “The centre will operate as a training centre for our MY Academy programme, helping young people in North Edinburgh.
“It will also provide a wild retreat for children and young people from North Edinburgh and a space for meaningful outdoor learning.
“The fund will support a project officer to focus on the development of the project as well as community consultation, including conducting a full feasibility report for the building and its land and business planning.
“MY Adventure is looking forward to this exciting project taking shape and offering increased opportunities for the communities of north Edinburgh.”
Three-year-old Mikaeel Kular died after being beaten to death by mum Rosdeep Adekoya, 34, in January last year, with his body then hidden in a suitcase and buried among woodland in Kirkcaldy.
In the wake of the tragedy, devastated residents and young people from around Muirhouse and Drylaw came together to set up the Mikaeel Kular Memorial Fund in his memory, eventually donating £3000 to MYA’s new outreach centre.
The Towford facility will help young children explore the outdoors while also providing a base where teenagers can learn new skills – with pupils from Craigroyston High among those set to benefit.
The project’s latest boost comes from the £1 million Legacy 2014: Sustainable Sport for Communities Fund, created by the Scottish Government and The Robertson Trust, and delivered in partnership with Social Investment Scotland, sportscotland and Senscot.
Alastair Davis, Chief Executive of Social Investment Scotland, which administers the fund, said: “MYA has presented a compelling case outlining the benefits of their plans which will provide an incredible opportunity for local young people, families and marginalised communities in north Edinburgh. We know sport has the potential to bring a range of benefits to local communities and therefore we look forward to seeing the benefits their outdoor learning programme will have on Muirhouse and surrounding areas.”
TRAGIC toddler Mikaeel Kular died after being beaten by his mum Rosdeep Adekoya over a three-day period in January last year.
The savage assault, which happened after a family trip to Nando’s, resulted in the three-year-old suffering severe internal injuries.
Adekoya, 34, then hid his body in a suitcase and drove to Kirkaldy, Fife, where she buried it in woodland behind her sister’s house.
His death sparked a huge search operation after Adekoya initially reported her son missing – with the local community coming out in their hundreds to help look for the toddler. But they were left devastated when the boy’s body was found by police just a few days later.
Adekoya was sentenced to 11 years in prison in August last year after admitting to killing Mikaeel. She had initially been charged with murder but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide.