The Actual Reality Trust

The Actual Reality Trust is the Scottish charity responsible for Ardentinny Centre. Established in 2001, its goal is to develop and support Ardentinny Outdoor Centre as a non-profit organisation. The Trust received charitable status in 2013.

The Actual Reality Trust is the successor organisation to the joint endeavour of Glasgow City Council and East Renfrewshire Council to ensure the continuation of residential and outdoor education at Castle Toward and Ardentinny following the reorganisation of local government in 1996.

The Aims of the Trust

  • Ensure, so far as it can, access to quality residential and outdoor education experiences at its centre
  • Invest in facilities and resources so that they are fit for purpose
  • Support the curriculum of partner schools and the objectives of youth organisations in helping to equip young people with the skills and knowledge they need to live well
  • Make sure the centre is run as a successful social enterprise business

The Trust believes that the beneficial effects for young people of the challenges, opportunities and joys of residential and outdoor learning are so powerful and long-lasting that no effort should be spared in helping to provide such opportunities for the many.

It supports the long and honourable history attached to residential and outdoor learning that started at the beginning of the last century with “fresh air fortnight” holiday outings organised by the Corporation of Glasgow, encompassing music, art, drama, sports coaching and environmental education.

There have been changes of emphasis over the years, of course, but what has remained constant is that young people, with their classmates, are called upon to travel away from routine and familiar environments and to adapt to the altered circumstances where the props and the support of everyday life are replaced by new challenges, new experiences and new influences. In these circumstances, Ardentinny Centre helps and encourages young people to develop vital personal capacities for confidence, learning, contributing and citizenship.

The Scottish Charity number of the Actual Reality Trust is SC 043 863.

The Board

The current board of the Trust is formed by:

Dr. Christopher Mason MBE (Honorary Member): Dr. Mason has been a Trustee since 2005. He is also a Vice President of the National Autistic Society, and President of the Clyde Maritime Trust (The Tall Ship) which he founded in 1991. From 1966 to 1994 he taught International Relations at Glasgow University. From 1982 to 2012 he was an elected local government councillor and from 2012 to 2015 he was the Carers’ Champion for Glasgow City Council.

Peter Wilson: Peter is the Chief Officer at Ardentinny. After starting his career as a teacher, Peter has now been working in the Outdoor Education sector for over 30 years. He was Principal of the Achnamara Outdoor Centre from 1984 to 1994, and has been Principal of Castle Toward Outdoor Centre and Ardentinny since then. He also became the Chief Officer of the Trust since its foundation in the late 90s.

Alison Downie:
Alison is an accountant with a career spanning over 30 years in several sectors, so brings substantial business experience and knowledge to the Trust’s Board. She provides financial advice and oversight, but also has an interest ensuring that Actual Reality can offer enjoyable careers to its staff, while providing fun but challenging experiences to the schools and other groups who form Actual Reality’s main client base. She is keen to see the Trust develop into new areas, in particular running music and art courses. Alison also has three teenage children, so appreciates the importance of outdoor experience and music as part of a holistic education.

Gordon Gibb (Chair): Gordon is a Glasgow based architect, businessperson and educator, who designs buildings and also specialises in the professional and legal aspects of architecture, including dispute resolution, professional liability and rectification of construction deficiencies.  This work sees him dealing with forensic analysis and court.  He also teaches at the Glasgow School of Art and is known as an expert in contractual and professional issues, having a legal qualification and having held the post of vice-chair of the industry regulator.  Therefore he is called upon to teach and examine at other locations and does so throughout Scotland, England, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Barbara Gray: Barbara is an ex-teacher and headteacher with a passion for the outdoors and positive recreation. Currently employed as an Officer with Education Scotland, an agency of the Scottish Government, she balances her more sedentary work – which includes curriculum development and providing support for teaching professionals across the country – with physical activity, wherein she enjoys walking, cycling, swimming and running whenever there is an opportunity.  Based in Scotland for all of her career, Barbara has an excellent knowledge of Primary education and pedagogy, including the needs of children pertaining to out-of-school visits and residencies, an area that she has always championed and partaken of.