Wood Foundation initiative empowers young people to advocate for causes they care about
Secondary students from across Scotland have secured £600,000 of funding for charities in their communities.
Through The Wood Foundation’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), young people from throughout the country advocated for causes close to their hearts in a bid to secure individual grants of £3,000.
Mental health charities, health support services, and organisations supporting people living in poverty were the top three issues to receive vital funds through the programme 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.”
Christie added: “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.”
Emily Findlay works for Aberdeen charity Friends of the Neonatal Unit which has secured a number of YPI grants. She said: “I absolutely love how engaged and excited the young people are who take part in YPI. Even if we don't win, it is such great opportunity for raising awareness.
“It’s particularly heartwarming that a lot of the young people that choose us have a connection to the unit, whether they were in the unit themselves or a sibling.”
Pre-lockdown, students took part in a range of classroom-based activities to learn about philanthropy and the needs of their communities before applying for funding. 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.
Gillian Dunsmuir, YPI lead at Stewarton Academy in Kilmarnock, said: “For many pupils, YPI is a humbling experience and supports them to develop skills required for learning, life and work. It provides them with new experiences out with the context of a classroom and is invaluable in allowing them to interact with people from a range of backgrounds and ages who have faced a whole host of challenges in their lives.”
Since its launch in 2008, YPI has engaged more than 200,000 young people and awarded over £4.5m to good causes. More than 250 schools are taking part in the programme over the coming year.