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Students from Sir E Scott and Sgoil Lionacleit secured an award of £3000 for Western Isles Women’s Aid and Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative through the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI).

YPI is supported by CalMac as a local funding partner. The delivery and engagement of The Wood Foundation programme is also supported by Volunteer Centre Western Isles (VCWI).

Lilly, Calum, Max and Keira from the Benbecula school delivered a clear, engaging and personal presentation with evidence of impact to an impressed judging panel. The award will be used by WICCI to pay for complementary therapies and counselling services in Uist and allow the group to develop the range of services they offer in Uist including:

  • Recruiting and training therapists
  • Travel costs for some therapists to access training
  • Paying therapists for their time, premises hire and publicity and promotion
  • To develop a ‘social’ calendar of events for people in Uist affected by cancer, so some of the money would be used for those events too.

Meanwhile, Archie, Chloe and Emma of Sir E Scott delivered the best visual, vocal and engaging business case on behalf of Western Isles Women’s Aid.

YPI is an active citizenship programme which empowers young people to make a difference in their community about causes which they care about deeply. Through a unique programme of teamwork, research and competition, an entire year group takes part, and one team is chosen to secure the award.

CalMac’s regional support of YPI sees it partner with 10 schools including Sgoil Lionacleit, Sir E Scott, The Nicolson Institute and Castlebay School. CalMac colleagues act as judges at school’s finals, as well as offering mentoring support to the young people involved in the programme.

Iain Anderson, Overhaul Technical Manager for CalMac engaged with the young people at Sgoil Lionacleit as a mentor, said: "Engaging with YPI has been a fruitful experience. I enjoyed listening to and discussing issues with the teams and was a great opportunity to build their expectations and confidence for when they move into the working world.”

Lucia Giuntoli, YPI Partnerships Manager, said: “Since 2019, our partnership with CalMac has allowed young people to advocate for social issues they are passionate about supporting in the local area. The support from CalMac as an engaged funding partner to our programme has been very important. Congratulations to the young people at Sgoil Lionacleit and Sir E Scott who impressed our team and the judges with their creativity, teamwork, and understanding of their skills development. They are wonderful advocates of #generationchange.”

Suzanne MacAulay of Volunteer Centre Western Isles said: “We would like to thank the representatives of these charities for their time engaging with young people and raising awareness of their work in the community.”

More than 250 schools in Scotland will complete YPI this academic year. Since it was launched in Scotland by The Wood Foundation in 2008 it has empowered more than 230,000 young people to make a difference in their communities, granting more than £5m to local charities addressing a range of social issues.