“YPI is a fantastic opportunity to teach students that other people aren’t as well off and that you get a really good feeling and pride from helping people.”
Corinne Hutton at the YPI 2017 National Event | Picture by Fraser Band
To date Finding Your Feet has received two YPI grants, the first from Paisley Grammar School in 2015 and the second from Gryffe High School in 2016. Corinne Hutton shares her experience of YPI discusses how she feels charities, students and schools can get the most out of the programme.
When Corinne Hutton fell gravely ill with acute pneumonia and septicaemia in June 2013, surgeons were forced to amputate both her hands and her legs below the knee to save her life. While she was still recovering from her illness and going through rehabilitation, Corinne set up the charity Finding Your Feet to support families affected by amputation and limb difference. Finding Your Feet offers one to one and group support and funds activities including swimming, climbing, skiing, cycling, yoga, art and gardening. They also organise drop in sessions where the ‘Troopers’ can socialise and meet with experts including benefits advisors, prosthetists and massage therapists. Although the charity is based in Glasgow, they aim to help amputees to take part in activities and build support networks wherever they are in Scotland. For example, there is now a group of Troopers in Dundee who meet regularly for the Finding Your Feet Yoga club.
Corinne explains “Finding Your Feet tries to show people that they will be able to do things again, with a bit of support, encouragement and friendship. Amputation isn’t the end of the world. There’s not much that you can’t do. There is a time when an amputee feels very negative and down and they need support during this time. This is what the charity does but we need grants and volunteers to do it. YPI has helped with this.”
“It’s all very well raising money and thinking it’s a good, kind thing that you’re doing, thinking that it’s making a difference. It’s quite another thing be there, to see it happening, to feel it happening and see how people are progressing because of you and what you’ve done.”
To date Finding Your Feet has received two YPI grants, the first from Paisley Grammar School in 2015 and the second from Gryffe High School in 2016. The grant from Paisley Grammar School has helped to fund a cycling club while the grant from Gryffe High has helped to fund a car to support Footpatrol, Finding Your Feet’s newest initiative. The car allows volunteers to visit people in hospital or in their homes to provide friendship, encouragement and practical help if they aren’t able or ready to join in with clubs yet. This new service is vital because these people often feel depressed and isolated and need the most support.
After supporting several YPI groups and attending YPI finals, Corinne is convinced about the benefits of YPI for students and charities. She believes that giving young people the opportunity to learn about the benefits of helping others and working with a charity is very important. Small charities fight hard for every penny that they raise, don’t have large expenditure and are often struggling to stay afloat and fund their services.
She continues, “YPI is a fantastic opportunity to teach them that other people aren’t as well off and that you get a really good feeling and pride from helping people. £3000 is a substantial amount of money. It would take us three or four coffee mornings to raise that.”
Corinne has some valuable advice for charities and students taking part in YPI to help them take full advantage of the programme. She advises that charities do need to invest time to meet with students and show them what the charity does, although she knows this can be difficult for a small charity. Corinne admits that there have been times when she has committed time to meeting with YPI groups and hasn’t won a YPI grant but as she says “you’ve got to be in it to win it. It’s easy money to raise if you can invest the time. YPI is a chance to simply tell people what you are doing well and have a chance to win £3000.”
Advice to charities:
Invest time to meet students
Share your passion so that students will believe in the cause
Think about where the money can be spent – be specific and get the students involved in this process
She encourages charities to be well prepared for meetings with YPI groups and to ensure that they get their message across to students so that they believe in the charity’s cause. Corinne’s approach to meeting with YPI groups is to present them with a list of projects that the charity hasn’t had the money to do yet. When they discuss the business case for the YPI grant, she allows them to choose the project that they feel particularly passionate about. If the group wins the YPI grant, this becomes their project and it happens because of them. Corinne believes that giving students the responsibility for a project makes them more passionate about the charity’s cause and helps them to deliver a compelling presentation. She emphasises that YPI groups need to be able to explain what they local impact of the grant will be very clearly.
Corinne loves it when students want to visit and see the work of the charity first hand. “It’s all very well raising money and thinking it’s a good, kind thing that you’re doing, thinking that it’s making a difference. It’s quite another thing be there, to see it happening, to feel it happening and see how people are progressing because of you and what you’ve done.” After winning the YPI grant, students from Paisley Grammar School came along to Finding Your Feet’s cycling club and met some of the amputees taking part. Once the new Footpatrol project is underway, Corinne has promised the students from Gryffe High School that they can come back to meet some of the people benefiting from their YPI grant.
Advice to students:
Remember charities may have limited resources – be respectful of their time
Think about volunteering / fundraising – how can you continue to make a difference?
Choose an issue that you are passionate about
One thing that Corinne always emphasizes to students is that they need to remember that small charities have limited resources and that supporting YPI groups does takes time. She encourages YPI groups to think about volunteering for a few hours or fundraising a small amount for charities who don’t receive a YPI grant to compensate them for their time.However, Corinne’s most important piece of advice for YPI groups is to “choose your charity wisely and believe in it.”