Youngsters in North Harris are to benefit from a new place to socialise, thanks to an award of £3,000 to the North Harris Trust. 

The money comes via the Youth Philanthropy Initiative, the brainchild of Sir Ian Wood, a scheme which is now rolled out across Scottish schools each year.

The YPI is an active citizenship that raises awareness among young people about philanthropy. Scottish pupils taking part in YPI work in small teams in their year groups, to consider the needs of their local community and identify a grassroots social service charity they believe can make a positive contribution. 

Having been guided on how to analyse the charity’s management and strategy, they are encouraged to build relationships with the charity and then exercise their skills in advocacy and public speaking to make a case as to why their proposed charity should be awarded £3000.

This year was the first that Sir E. Scott School had been involved with YPI, and the project was co-ordinated by Kate Langley, of Volunteer Centre Western Isles, and Mairi Maciver, of the Comhairle's Community Learning and Development department.

Three teams of students identified three local charities to work with – The North Harris Trust, the Leverburgh Home of Rest, and the Western Isles Community Care Forum.

At the finals held in Harris Hotel last night, the teams gave presentations in front of an audience and three judges – PC Phil Bertin, local police officer, Bellann O’ Brien, Volunteer Centre Western Isles (Stornoway) and Donald Murray, former head-teacher of Sir E. Scott School. 

And after what seemed like an age, Mr Murray announced that while all three presentations had been excellent, the North Harris Trust was to be awarded the £3,000 funding. 

The money will now go towards the erection of two portable units at the play area above MacQueen Street.

These units will provide a place for youngsters to socialise indoors, in a safe and comfortable environment.

Students had held a baking fayre in Tarbert as part of the process, and cheques from the proceeds were presented to representatives of the two charities who narrowly missed out on the main funding.

Head-teacher Aileen MacSween, congratulating all students who had taken part, hailed the YPI scheme as a massive success, and hoped it was now something the school could be a involved with on an annual basis.

The winning team – (Left to right) Alasdair Macleod, Eilidh MacSween, Zoe Macleod, Francis Macleod and Gemma Finnegan. Handing over the cheque is former head-teacher of Sir E. Scott School, Mr Donald Murray.