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This afternoon our Fourth Form took part in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) showcase. The YPI was founded by Scottish businessman and philanthropist Sir Ian Wood and The Wood Foundation and gives schools responsibility for granting £3000 each to a local charity. Today, seven teams presented to a panel of judges, advocating powerfully for their chosen charity in a bid to win the funding.

On the judging panel were Mr Jonathan Anderson, our Headmaster; Mr Danny Rowlands, our Deputy Head Wellbeing; Dr Dale Cartwright, our Deputy Head Academic and Finlay M who is our Captain of School Elect. It was also wonderful to welcome to Sue Beattie, the YPI Coordinator, to our School.

The judges of the YPI competition

Presenting for Soul Food were Ghani, Luis and Sebastian. They described their visit to the charity, whose meals are hosted every week by churches in Edinburgh. They discussed how the charity not only assists people with food but also supports guests to make connections and talk to others. The students said that they found the atmosphere very homely and friendly. They enjoyed the conversations and felt honoured to have been invited to share a meal with the other guests.

The Soul Food team presenting on stage

Next up were Miles, William, Audric, Jaime and Gabriel who presented their talk about Health in Mind. The students used a video to demonstrate how poor mental health might impact a friend and what the signs might be he needs some support; this included a loss of passion for sport, learning and socialising. They described the counselling and trauma training offered by the charity and the importance of its work for someone who is afraid to ask for help. They revealed that the £3000 grant would pay for 55 hours of counselling.

The Health in Mind team on stage

Community One Stop Shop ensures local families have access to nutritious foods and offers a delivery service for those who cannot get to a food bank. Daniel, Zayden, Nicolas, Keith and Ruairi focused on how a poor diet or lack of food might impact a child at school. The students were particularly enthusiastic about the charity's plans to provide fresh lunch packages for children over the Summer Holiday and said that they would like to assist with putting these together.

A Merchiston student team presents on stage in the Memorial Hall

Henry, George, Murray, Torquil and Eduardo advocated for The Lighthouze, which supports young people to find their passion and nurtures them to ensure they don't give up on their dreams. Particular areas of focus are the arts, music, cooking and sciences; the students created a video demonstrating how a young artist who had lost hope after struggling through an art exam could go to the charity and be supported to continue. The team loved the charity's website which they felt communicated how the resources are being used and want to raise money so that even more young people can be helped to find their dream career.

The Lighhouze team present on the stage

Edinburgh Young Carers inspired Nick, Hippolyte, Cameron, Ismael, Josh and Thomas to create a compelling short film about how we might recognise that a young person is facing challenges at home. It featured a young man who arrives late at school, is tired and low, but whose teacher understands the reasons why he is struggling and contacts the charity who can help. The students found the charity's message - that all young people deserve a childhood - very powerful and shared their enthusiasm with the judges. Through a call with Edinburgh Young Carers the students discovered that the grant would enable them to offer more counselling sessions, more respite activities and offer residential holidays for young carers who need time to socialise and enjoy themselves.

The Boys and Girls Club Scotland presentation team in the Memorial Hall

Our penultimate presentation was from Ahmed, Fergus, Reggie, Carlos and Tim who talked about Boys' and Girls' Clubs Scotland. Established in 1928, the charity helps all children to play sports without discrimination. It supports local clubs and trainers and helps to tackle poor mental health and drug misuse in communities across the city. The team were particularly drawn to this organisation due to the importance it places on sport for wellbeing, something that really resonates with our School. Like many, this charity has struggled during Covid due to the inability to fundraise or hold events, so our students were keen to put it forward for the grant.

IWORK4ME advocates on stage in the Memorial Hall

Last but by no means least, Max, Yuqi, Lucas, Eithan and Pablo presented their talk about IWORK4ME, which supports those with autism to become self employed. The students told us about a lady who had a passion for painting and was guided by the charity to launch a business producing and selling greetings cards. The team highlighted how the grant would enable the charity to boost awareness about their work, through social media and their website.

Following these compelling presentations, the judges took some time to deliberate and choose their winner. Before the big reveal Sue Beattie from YPI commended the students for their commitment to the project following a whole term of work during PSHE and some English lessons. She congratulated the teams for giving the charities a platform and for being passionate advocates.

Our Captain of School Elect, Finlay MacDonald, presented the winning team with their certificate.... Nick, Hippolyte, Cameron, Ismael, Josh and Thomas for Edinburgh Young Carers! £3000 will now go to the charity to further its fantastic work.

The winning team hold up their certificate

Very many congratulations to all of the teams for their hard work and thoroughly engaging presentations.



Kirsty Nicholls