A Dundee teenager, once voted one of the UK’s top young digital leaders, is to open an office in his back garden with the help of a £7,000 grant.
Andrew Batchelor set up the Dundee Culture Facebook page in 2013, aged 13, to help support the city’s UK City of Culture bid.
Despite Dundee missing out on the title, the talented teenager was surprised to find that what had started out as a hobby soon became something of a full-time job.
Now, six years after its creation and with the aid of a grant from ILF Scotland, the 18-year-old will open his own office on Friday.
Andrew, who was born with cerebral palsy and also has dyslexia, dyscalculia, epilepsy and autism, was given the £7,000 grant through the non-departmental public body’s transition fund.
The money has gone towards the construction of the purpose-built office in the teenager’s back garden.
Andrew said: “We failed to win the bid, but the Dundee Culture page started to become quite popular. It was something I wanted to keep going.
“There really wasn’t much of a social media presence for Dundee at the time and I wanted to showcase the positive sides of the city.
“The page has been visited by 10 million people, from 85 countries worldwide, in the last six years. Last year alone we had five million visitors, with the opening of the V&A Dundee helping us to reach those numbers.
“So far this year we’ve had three million visitors, which I hope will surpass last year’s figures.
“This project was never meant to be this big – it has now become one of the largest social media followings in Dundee and I can’t fault the people who have supported me along the way.
? The view from the Tay Rail Bridge is just pure wonderful. Just a breathtaking view looking over the Firth of Tay! ??: Tay Rail Bridge, Dundee?: john_glassey via IG
“I’m now looking to find people who can help sponsor it and somewhere along the line I’d also like to look into developing an app. That would help take it to the next level.
“The majority of the people visiting the page are actually outwith Dundee; we’ve got people from places including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester visiting the site regularly.”
Andrew, who was named in Young Scot’s 4 Young People Who’ve Ruled the Tech World list in 2015, is keen to stress however that Dundee Culture, which celebrated its sixth birthday on August 12, is not a solo effort.
It started off with Dundee's UK City of Culture bid, at the time, Dundee barely had any social media presence and to help support Dundee's bid, 12 year old Andrew Batchelor set up Dundee Culture on August 12, 2013 to do that. pic.twitter.com/ubu62OzOPl
— Dundee Culture (@DundeeCulture) August 12, 2019
“This is a collaborative effort with the people of Dundee,” he said.
Peter Scott, CEO of ILF Scotland, said: “We are delighted that the ILF Scotland Transition Fund has been able to support Andrew with the growth of his impressive social enterprise business, Dundee Culture, which contributes so much to his local community.
“The transition into adulthood can be a hugely challenging time for many disabled young people, who at times can, for example, become lonely and isolated. The transition fund exists to help young people to overcome such challenges.
“It has been wonderful to watch the life changing impact the transition fund has had on so many young people, like Andrew, enhancing their confidence, independence and participation in society.
“We want to support more young people from across Scotland as they transition into adulthood, and we continue to welcome applications. More details of the fund can be found on our website: www.ilf.scot/transition-fund
“We wish Andrew, and Dundee Culture, every future success.”