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Pilot project to encourage youth stewardship of the historic environment

25 July 2013

A project to encourage greater involvement of young people in their local historic environment was launched today in Shetland as part of the Scottish government’s summer cabinet tour.

During a visit to the Iron Age Clickimin Broch in Lerwick, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs unveiled the ethos and ambitions behind the project, which will encourage research, promotion and conservation of the historic assets in their area.

Ms Hyslop met with leaders and members of the Shetland Youth Group who are working with Historic Scotland on the project.  The group were able to explain how a project like this could be of significant benefit to their educational programmes as well as meet the needs of Curriculum for Excellence.

Historic Scotland already operates projects that enable young people to work with the historic environment such as the Junior Guide initiative which involves local schools providing tours of their local Historic Scotland property for other groups. However a more flexible format would allow regular long-term involvement with sites and engender a greater degree of ownership, pride and responsibility among young people.

The project in Shetland will involve the group undertaking their own programme of activities and plan how these are structured. The group will be supported by Historic Scotland’s Learning Services team who will offer guidance about activities that are appropriate for the site.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said:  “This pilot is an exciting and positive development in the way education groups engage directly with their historic environment and contribute to its promotion and conservation.  The project at Clickimin Broch with Shetland Youth Group will provide us with a valuable insight to how local young people understand and embrace their historic environment. The findings will be used to assess the feasibility of a national initiative which could not only benefit historic sites but also boost young peoples’ learning and help deliver Curriculum for Excellence at a local level.  

Brenda Leask, Youth Service Team Leader from the Shetland Youth Group said:
This is a great opportunity for Shetland Island Council to work in partnership with Historic Scotland, involving young people as active partners in planning and delivering this exciting new project.  We are looking forward to developing this partnership and celebrating our historic community assets.  This project contributes to young people’s learning and development in a creative and positive way.

Notes for editors:

  • Clickimin Broch, located in Lerwick, Shetland is 3000 years old. It dates from the Bronze age to the late Iron age. The remains include a rare structure – an extremely well preserved blockhouse. The broch fell into disuse approximately 800 years ago and lay forgotten until the mid-nineteenth century when amateur archaeologists dug up part of the site. One hundred years later, it was professionally excavated and restored.

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • 2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland, inspiring our people and our visitors to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty, landscapes and biodiversity as Scotland prepares to welcome the world in 2014 and beyond. Find out more about Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty at

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For further information

Laura Shaw
Media & PR Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8588 or 07854 366 805