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Inverness schools Charleston Academy and Culloden Academy, and Kilchuimen Academy in Fort Augustus, raise five-figure sum through Sir Ian Wood's Youth and Philanthropy Initiative

By Alasdair Fraser

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Some of the children involved in Sir Ian Wood's Youth and Philanthropy Initiative.
Some of the children involved in Sir Ian Wood's Youth and Philanthropy Initiative.

Highland school pupils have raised £51,000 for local charities through involvement in a leading Scottish businessman and philanthropist’s venture organisation.

Sir Ian Wood’s The Wood Foundation, established in 2007, secured the help of 17 secondary schools for its Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) and saw young people working in teams to identify social issues impacting their communities and charities addressing them. They then developed creative presentations in a bid to secure a £3000 school grant.

Among those schools taking part were Charleston Academy, Culloden Academy and Kilchuimen Academy in Fort Augustus.

The top three social issues to secure YPI funding this year were support for those with health and ability conditions, mental health and wellbeing services, and action to tackle poverty within Scotland’s communities.

Jasmine, a student at Culloden Academy, said: “YPI was a challenge. We had never done a big presentation before and it was very nerve-racking in front of a big crowd. We got a lot of confidence from it.”

Ali MacLachlan, UK director at The Wood Foundation, said: “Young people raising awareness of social issues, and ensuring this vital funding reaches communities at a time of acute need, is so important.

“We are incredibly proud of the dedication and commitment shown by schools and students to ensure this important learning and funding opportunity continued with such vigour, despite all the challenges from Covid-19.

“Giving young people a platform and a voice to lead their learning, and make a difference to the issues they saw first-hand locally, took on additional significance in a year when so much autonomy was taken away.

“We have been blown away by many of the presentations and have great hope that our young people are an exciting force for change.”

Nationally, 220 schools took part, channelling £660,000 to charities. Since its 2008 launch in Scotland, the active citizenship programme YPI has been responsible for more than £5 million being granted to local charities.

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