Cockenzie-based charity Heavy Sound has announced its new chief executive, while a range of new services are set to start at the charity in the new year.

Heavy Sound aims to change lives by improving the health and wellbeing of young people by teaching them new skills in music, biking and sport, alongside educational programmes.

The charity works with some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

It also works with adults, aiming to support people who are involved in the criminal justice system, whether that is in prison, on community payback orders, drug treatment and testing orders or out on licence.

Linda Bendle, who is also chair of charity Families Outside and is on the board of Community Justice Scotland, has been working as the head of business development at Heavy Sound since 2017 and has now been promoted to chief executive, replacing Jordan Butler.

Speaking on her new role, Linda told the Courier: “I am looking forward to the role and I am glad Jordan is still going to be involved in the group as a founder.

“He will still be very much involved with the organisation but will serve more as the face of the organisation such as public speaking, stakeholder engagement and developing creative ideas to drive the business.

“It is great to be involved and I am looking forward to working with the young people, as well as in our adult work too.”

The group will also be starting a new service for youngsters aged 16 and over.

This will begin on February 1 and run weekly.

The group encourages young adults to drop in and build relationships, engage in activities and address any issue-based problems such as mental health and homelessness.

Linda said: “Working and engaging with young people is very important; we have seen directly how this can benefit youngsters and adults.

“I believe there has been an improvement in how mental health is viewed and discussed, but there is a long way to go.

“We are also looking to continue to engage with groups like East Lothian Council, schools and police.

“I think the need for our support is increasing and we want to do what we can.”

The next monthly drop-in – for parents, carers and services involved with the young people who Heavy Sound works with – is on January 26. All drop-in sessions are at the charity’s Cockenzie Hub on Edinburgh Road.