Scotland’s Polar Academy set its sights on growth with new appointments

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New trustees for The Polar Academy: Mike Hancock of Cornhill Building Services, Chris Tiso, of Tiso Group, and John Gilmour, headmaster of Craigclowan Prep School. Picture credit: Peter Sandground Photography

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20th March 2017 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Three new appointments to the board of the Polar Academy, a Scottish charity that aims to inspire young people through exploration, aim to take the charity to a new heights.

Chris Tiso, of outdoor specialist Tiso, Mike Hancock, the founder of Cornhill Building Services, and John Gilmour, headmaster of Craigclowan Preparatory School in Perthshire, join the six-strong trustee panel of the charity set up by polar explorer Craig Mathieson. 

They join Keith Neilson, chief executive of Craneware plc, Andrew Ford of tax specialists Barr & Ford Ltd and Mike Robinson, chief executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Established in 2014, the Polar Academy is wholly self-funded by donations from companies and private donors.

The third expedition team of The Polar Academy departed on a 10-day, 100km expedition through Arctic Greenland this week.

After eight months of rigorous training with Mathieson, the Edinburgh based teenagers (all aged 14-17) from Fettes College and Broughton High School will haul their own 45kg sledges, navigate and camp on the sea ice. The expedition is designed to instil greater self-confidence and belief in young individual's who have identified as "invisible" in the school system.

Like two previous expeditions, the pupils will return to Scotland ready to speak to thousands of fellow school pupils about their personal challenges and experiences.

Often described as the living breathing proof that ordinary individuals can achieve the extraordinary, they in turn seek to inspire their peer groups, urging them to overcome feelings of insecurity, self-doubt and anxiety in pursuit of their own dreams.

Tiso Group and Bergans of Norway are founding supporters of the charity that needs to fundraise over £170,000 per year.

Chris Tiso added: "Craig Mathieson is a remarkable individual and friend with whom I share the belief that Scotland's youth can be inspired through exploration. Over the past three years I have seen first hand how the charity has positively transformed the lives of many young people who previously felt trapped by feelings of self doubt and their personal circumstances.

"As the third expedition of The Polar Academy prepares to depart for Arctic Greenland, I look forward to being part of the trustee team, supporting The Polar Academy in the next phase of its inspirational journey as it helps ordinary individuals to achieve the extraordinary."

Referring to his appointment, John Gilmour, who formerly served in the Royal Navy, said: "I am very pleased to be invited to support the work of The Polar Academy as a trustee, and I look forward to sharing my many years of experience of the educational system. As a former member of HM Forces and for many years a member of Swanage lifeboat crew, I also passionately believe in helping to nurture team work and leadership in young people.

"These are skills that increase self confidence and instil the all important 'can do' spirit embedded in the work of The Polar Academy."

After working with Links Design, the charity has also just launched a new website with the latest information about its mission and successes.

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