ONE OF MORAY’S leading employers has joined forces with the Wood Foundation by launching the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) Scotland at Speyside High School.
Through community outreach and research tasks, the current S3 group at the school will work in teams to develop a better understanding of the issues that affect their community. The best teams will then compete to secure a £3000 grant for the local charity that has greatest need.
As part of the initiative representatives from Aberlour-based Walkers Shortbread have mentored the Speyside High School students throughout their YPI journey. In addition, Walkers are providing the £3000 grant that will be awarded at the YPI School Final on Tuesday, March 28.
Among the impressive panel of judges is Jim Walker, Managing Director Walkers Shortbread, who will critique the finalist presentations before awarding the grant to the winning team.
Reflecting upon the introduction and development of YPI at Speyside High School, Patricia Goodbrand, Head Teacher at Speyside High School, commented: “As a school we strive to create a caring, inclusive and happy learning community and the whole ethos behind the YPI Programme helps to enhance this vision.
“YPI encourages our young people to care about their community through identifying a social issue that is important to them; it builds partnerships between people and organisations in the wider community as students explore and visit charities – and it helps to promote inclusion as our young people come to understand what is happening on their own doorstep and what it is they can do to help some of the most vulnerable groups within the local community.”
Talking about the business involvement in the YPI programme so far, Diane McGregor, HR Officer for Walkers Shortbread and YPI mentor, added: “The first mentor session was, in my opinion, a great success in kick starting the YPI programme at Speyside High.
“As someone who has little experience of interacting with students, I was apprehensive going into the first session, however the amazing input and interaction given by the pupils quickly over turned those feelings. I personally felt in awe at the vast amount of knowledge the pupils had regarding the whole concept of social issues.
“I cannot wait to see the journey these pupils take in developing, not only their social awareness and knowledge, but also the imperative employability skills the programme is encouraging. I also can’t wait to see how competitive the teams become and their presentations in the run up to the final.“
Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of The Wood Foundation, added: “The Wood Foundation is delighted to be working in partnership with Walkers Shortbread in Moray region through YPI Scotland.
“Walkers Shortbread is a national icon, sold everywhere around the world, and they are just the right kind of partner in a project encouraging young people to understand the problems in their local community and participate in contributing to the solutions.
“YPI is by far The Wood Foundation’s most successful philanthropic initiative in Scotland. Beyond the grants YPI has awarded to local charities, the programme most significantly impacts upon young people, providing a valuable experience of philanthropy and community action.
“We are proud that Speyside High’s YPI Final represents the end of a successful pilot year, as well as an invaluable partnership with Walkers Shortbread that we hope to build upon in the years ahead.”
Over the last decade the YPI programme has grown and developed across Scotland. During the 2016/17 academic year alone, 210 Scottish secondary schools will participate in YPI. This constitutes 26,500 participating students with collective responsibility for awarding £630,000 to small, local charities throughout Scotland.