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Students praised for efforts in helping land £3k for wheelchair group

By Sean McAngus

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Balmedie Beach Wheelchairs’ push to upgrade their toilet facilities at the Balmedie Country Park has been handed a £3000 boost thanks to a group of Ellon Academy pupils.

Every year, sixth year pupils work with the Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) exploring social issues in the community.

As part of the initiative they identified and visited charities which work to address these issues, before designing and delivering creative pitches to convince classmates why their chosen charity was deserving of the money.

Eight class heat winners contested the final at the school in front of an audience.

Youngsters Mairi McKeown, Nikita Daniel, Rachel Reid, Louise Bruce, Tommy Corkey and Abigail Jonker won the competition after wowing the judges with their presentation.

The winning group celebrate after getting £3000 for Balmedie Beach Wheelchairs.
The winning group celebrate after getting £3000 for Balmedie Beach Wheelchairs.

Co-ordinator for Balmedie Beach Wheelchairs Fiona Winstanley hailed the youngsters for all the work they carried out to scoop the cash prize.

She said: “It was just an amazing night and great to see all the hard work the youngsters had put into the project.

“Just seeing all it come to light was good to see.

“The presentation was different to the others as there was a sensory factor as they got everyone to close their eyes and imagine being on the beach and even splashed them with water.

“It look as though the visit made a big impact on them.”

The group are currently fundraising to create new accessible toilet at the park with money from YPI going a long way in making it happen.

She added: “Every pence counts with one wheelchair costing around £4200.

“People really liked the idea about the wheelchairs on the beach and it has grown from there with a secure safe bunker for the chairs, which is crucial.

“We have plans and are fundraising for new changing rooms.

“This comes after we found people were coming for short visits, especially as the toilets were concrete and freezing cold, so it wasn’t conformable.

“The money is really important and we are so proud of the youngsters.

Ellon Academy’s depute rector Kim Hall was impressed with all the displays from the pupils that took part in the S6 YPI final.

“There were outstanding performances and teams competed to

give creative multimedia presentations to sell why their chosen local charities should be awarded £3000,”she said. “All the judges agreed that the standard of all the presentations were amazing.

“We are now putting all the S6 pupils who took an active role in the YPI project forward for the national GREC Award.

“All of these young people did the school proud.

“They all have so many demands on their time, so it is hugely impressive that the vast majority of S6 went the extra mile to raise awareness for so many local charities.”

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