Young people in West Lothian have been securing funds for local charities addressing issues such as poverty, disability, and mental health through their school’s involvement in The Wood Foundation’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI).
In one week alone, £12,000 was won for Smile Counselling, The School Bank West Lothian, Behind Your Mind, and Riding for the Disabled, by students from Linlithgow Academy, James Young High School, St Margaret’s Academy, and Whitburn Academy.
Baillie Gifford supports YPI in West Lothian. Sam Pattman from the investment management company said:
“It is incredibly impressive to know young people are so passionate about tackling issues facing those in their community. We are proud to partner in their efforts to raise awareness, advocate, and secure funds for the causes that matter to them in West Lothian.”
The funds secured for The School Bank West Lothian will purchase and distribute uniforms to local families facing financial challenge.
Colette Moran from the charity said:
“It is fantastic news that the team won. Congratulations to them on this achievement. We were very impressed with how they all approached this project and their efforts have shone through. This award will support more young people some of whom are living in very difficult circumstances locally.”
YPI is completed by 10 West Lothian schools each year.
James Tibbetts leads the programme at Whitburn Academy. He said:
“YPI is important to the school as it gives our students the opportunity to make a real, tangible difference to the world in which they live. It gives them an opportunity to gain a feeling of purpose and influence that too many young people don’t get often enough.
“We had a particularly enthusiastic set of groups this year and I was impressed with every group having the gumption to stand up in front 50-odd audience members, for the first time since COVID ceased these kinds of events. In particular, the winning group gave a presentation that was brave in its honesty and rawness. Their passion for the charity was clear and they really cared about making a difference to those suffering with mental health issues.”
Brooke was on the winning team at Whitburn Academy that secured funds for Behind Your Mind. She said:
“It felt good to show off everything that we had worked for. It was a surprise. I was mostly worried about just staying standing while I was presenting, I wasn’t even thinking about winning!”
Her teammate Louise added:
“It felt good to know that the work had paid off. This money means a chance for young people to be in a new environment and have a laugh.”
YPI is an active citizenship programme which empowers young people to make a difference in their communities. Through teamwork, research, creativity, and competition, one team from each school will secure a £3000 grant for the charity of its choice.