Highland Hospice has worked with schools throughout the Highland region to encourage open and honest conversations about dying and grief.
Highland schools have secured £12,000 for the charity in recent years and been represented at a host of finals raising awareness of their services and issues related to the loss of loved ones.
Students have developed impactful presentations, including the use of PowerPoint, a poem, and imagery.
Katie Gibb from the charity said:
“Grief for most is worked through with the support of family or friends but sometimes that can break down for many reasons or it is too big to compute. Left unaddressed it can have a major impact on an individual. In the case of a young person, it can cause exclusion, depression, anxiety, and mental health issues. That is why it’s so important young people feel confident to talk openly about dying and death and that a platform like YPI, in schools, is valued by Highland Hospice.”
Students who have represented Highland Hospice through YPI have remained engaged with the charity through volunteering and awareness raising.
In 2019, Jasmine and Aimi won the YPI final at Culloden Academy while in S2. They went on to present at a Highland Hospice full staff meeting. Katie added:
“The two young ladies were commended by the YPI staff present as delivering one of the most comprehensive and powerful presentations that they had seen. We were so impressed with their presentation that we invited them to attend our Staff Gathering later that year, which they did, giving our staff, board members, and volunteers a view of our Crocus service from the eyes of young people participating in the YPI initiative.”
Upon visiting Highland Hospice’s Crocus service which supports families facing grief, the girls were interested and impressed by the arts, crafts, and stories used to engage people. Their funding was used to purchase boxes of materials which allow people to create tealights and other items which represent their loved one. It also bought books for children.
The girls later organised an obstacle course to raise additional funds for the service.
“It is a difficult thing to talk about but the more research we did, and the more we spoke to people, the more comfortable it became. It was a bit of a shock to win and we were proud of what we had done.”
They developed a PowerPoint presentation which featured images from the service. They spoke about the impact of the funding and had some of the crafts the Crocus Group encourages, including pouring sand into a jar, to highlight the impact of the service.
“YPI was a challenge, we were quite young when we did it and had never done a big presentation before. It was very nerve-wracking in front of a big crowd. We got a lot of confidence from it.
“Dying is a difficult thing to talk about but the group does really good things. My granny died when I was younger and there were things I learned during this I wish I knew then. I hope our presentation and money raised can help someone else going through a difficult time.”