Secondary students across the Western Isles have raised vital funds and awareness for charities in their communities addressing a range of social issues.

Through The Wood Foundation’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), young people from throughout the country represented causes they cared about in a bid to secure their school’s grant.

Mental health charities, health support services, and organisations supporting people living in poverty were the top three issues to receive more than £600,000 of funding this academic year.

Jonathan Christie, Deputy UK Director at The Wood Foundation, said:“The sums secured by young people, #generationchange, for local communities is incredible. This is a unique form of delegated grant-making and puts the power in students’ hands, ensuring there’s representation of the causes which matter to them. As well as funds, there are vital awareness raising and relationship components, as well as a range of skills development opportunities for the young people themselves.”

Pre-lockdown, students took part in a range of classroom-based activities to learn about philanthropy and the needs of their communities. An entire year group at each school was split into teams with one, deemed to have the most convincing and creative presentation, securing their school’s £3000 grant.

When lockdown was announced, The Wood Foundation announced an adaptation to the process to give students who had not completed their programme the opportunity to advocate and raise funds for the local response to Covid-19.

YPI has engaged more than 200,000 young people since it was launched in Scotland by Sir Ian Wood’s charitable foundation in 2008, directing more than £4.5m to Scottish charities across each of the country’s 32 local authorities. More than 250 schools have committed to deliver YPI in the coming academic year.

In the Western Isles, £10,000 was secured for charities.

Local schools and their charities are:

Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative

Sir E Scott School

Fèis Bharraigh

Castlebay Community School

Lucky2BHere

The Nicolson Institute