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Pupils help secure funding for vital north-east charity efforts

By David Porter

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Secondary students in Aberdeenshire have been praised for raising vital funds and awareness for charities in their communities addressing a range of social issues.

Through The Wood Foundation’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), young people from throughout the country represented causes they cared about in a bid to secure their school’s grant.

Mental health charities, health support services, and organisations supporting people living in poverty were the top three issues to receive more than £600,000 of funding this academic year.

Jonathan Christie, Deputy UK Director at The Wood Foundation, said: “The sums secured by young people, #generationchange, for local communities is incredible.

"This is a unique form of delegated grant-making and puts the power in students’ hands, ensuring there’s representation of the causes which matter to them.

"As well as funds, there are vital awareness raising and relationship components, as well as a range of skills development opportunities for the young people themselves.”

Emily Findlay works for Aberdeen charity Friends of the Neonatal Unit which secured two YPI grants this year.

She said:“I absolutely love how engaged and excited the young people are who take part in YPI.

"Even if we don't win, it is such great opportunity for raising awareness.

"It’s particularly heart-warming that a lot of the young people that choose us have a connection to the unit, whether they were in the unit themselves or a sibling.”

Pre-lockdown, students took part in a range of classroom-based activities to learn about philanthropy and the needs of their communities.

An entire year group at each school was split into teams with one, deemed to have the most convincing and creative presentation, securing their school’s £3000 grant.

When lockdown was announced, The Wood Foundation announced an adaptation to the process to give students who had not completed their programme in Aberdeenshire the opportunity to advocate and raise funds for the local response to Covid-19.

YPI has engaged more than 200,000 young people since it was launched in Scotland by Sir Ian Wood’s charitable foundation in 2008, directing more than £4.5m to Scottish charities across each of the country’s 32 local authorities. More than 250 schools have committed to deliver YPI in the coming academic year.

Recipients in the last 12 months of the £3000 donation include - Mental Health Aberdeen, Albyn School; AFC Community Trust, Banchory Academy; SAMH, Alford Academy; Home-Start Deveron, Banff Academy; Belhelvie Community Trust, Ellon Academy; Friends of the Neonatal Unit, Hazlehead Academy; Apex Scotland, Inverurie Academy; Friends of the Neonatal Unit, Mackie Academy; Pillar Kincardine, Mearns Academy; Mental Health, Aberdeen Northfield Academy; Kayleigh's Wee Stars, Peterhead Academy; Mental Health Aberdeen, Portlethen Academy; Grampian Women's Aid, St Machar Academy; Befriend a Child, St Margaret's School; Friends of Insch Hospital, The Gordon Schools; Penumbra, The International School Aberdeen; CLAN Cancer Support, Turriff Academy and Mental Health Aberdeen, Westhill Academy.

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