Payback time as Tayside fishery owner opens its doors to foster care youngsters

Gone fishing: Ledyatt Fishery owner David Duff (right) is pictured alongside general manager Stephen Japp (Left) and Swiis Involvement Officer Sandy McLeod.

KIND-hearted Tayside businessman David Duff is aiming to get young people in foster care hooked on angling – so they never feel like a fish out of water.

David teamed up with Swiis Foster Care Scotland to throw open the doors to his picturesque Ledyatt Fishery to a group of foster carers and young people so they could sample the delights of outdoor pursuits.

It was a move inspired by his own memories of foster care as a youngster when he says there was not enough support to equip him with the skills and knowledge to transition from a life in care to living independently.

“I know that being brought up in care can be hard and I have to admit that when I left care aged 16, I was given £300 and a wave goodbye” David said.

“But thanks to organisations like Swiis Foster Care Scotland and their child-centred approach to foster care, things are getting better and better for young people which is great to see.

“The Swiis foster carers really do have hearts of gold, and I wanted to do my bit to help by putting on a special day for carers and young people. I invited them along so they could have fun and enjoy themselves but also so they can learn new skills and hopefully fall in love with fishing.”

As part of the Swiis Foster Care Scotland East team’s summer events, Ledyatt Fishery, the Tayside home of the so-called ‘Mega trout’ staged an event at the Sidlaws beauty spot specifically for carers and young people.

They had the chance to learn how to fish using a fly rod on the big loch which stocks Rainbow, Brown and Tiger trout up to 25 lb in size or try their hand at more traditional methods using the bubble float fishing on the kids’ pond.

There was also a barbecue, refreshments, face painting, bouncy castles, games, and fishing instruction from the army veteran fishing team while giving Swiis team and their invitees the freedom of a stunning fishery.

David has long been a great supporter of children living in foster care, providing half-price and sometimes free fishing, but he has now stepped up his backing with the open day which is set to become an annual event. 

He also generously donated two brand-new fly-fishing rods and reels so young people who are part of the Swiis Foster Care Scotland community in the Dundee area can continue to build their confidence and skills in fishing. 

David added: “I have always had great admiration for anyone who fosters, and I call what Swiis provides as the ‘fourth emergency service”.

“Thankfully nowadays, there is a support network and help is never far away. Moving forward, I hope to make this an annual event because it was clear everyone had what you could call a ‘whale of a time’!

Carers and young people were unanimous in their appreciation of the event.

Foster carer Clair Thomson said: “I know my boys had a great day and all the young people the staff spoke to echoed their sentiments.

“They were saying things like “can we come back again to do some more fishing” and”I can’t believe we are getting all of this for free.” 

Swiis Foster Care Scotland’s Dundee East assistant manager Neil Stewart added: “This was a really fun day for all the children and young people who attended.

“It was great to see so many families from all over the area and there was a lovely, relaxed atmosphere.

“A big thank-you is due to David and all the other people who volunteered to make it a great day for us, despite the less-than-ideal weather.

“And his donation is a heartfelt one that the whole team of staff and children at Swiis will cherish.”

David has channelled his experiences and dedicated himself to turning the fortunes of a sleepy fishery into a sought-after beautiful destination.

His passion and hard work have paid off; Ledyatt Fishery is now regarded as one of the best in the UK and people come from miles around for the chance to catch a 26lbs “mega trout” which eluded the foster carers and the young people – for now!

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