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Nicolson Institute students secure funding for Western Isles Women's Aid

Students from the Nicolson Institute have secured an award of £3000 for Western Isles Women's Aid through the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI).

YPI is supported by Caledonian MacBrayne as a funding partner locally. The delivery and engagement of The Wood Foundation programme is also supported by Volunteer Centre Western Isles (VCWI).

Bethany MacLeod, Caitlin Morrison, Millie Widdop and Simeon Fletcher from the Lewis school profiled the work of Western Isles Women's Aid, highlighting the role of the service within the community. The award will allow the group to raise awareness in schools and public places by designing and producing posters with QR codes linking to information on Women's Aid. They will also be displayed in toilets where the code can be scanned confidentially. They'll also use the award to provide Wi-Fi in the Women's Aid refuge.

YPI is an active citizenship programme which empowers young people to make a difference in their community about causes which they care about deeply. Through a unique programme of teamwork, research and competition, an entire year group takes part and one team is chosen to secure the grant.

Richard Fraser of the Nicolson Institute said: "Congratulations to the winning team. Their fantastic video presentation on behalf of Western Isles Women's Aid really impressed the YPI judges. This year was the first time we've had a fully online YPI final, and while we missed the festive atmosphere of a live event in the assembly hall, we still managed to have all the key elements that make a successful YPI final. All the teams did very well and we are so pleased to have been able to carry on and have another successful event that sees a local charity become £3000 better off. Well done all of you!"

Suzanne MacAulay of VCWI said: "Through YPI, youth volunteers are able to make a positive impact on the services of  Western Isles Women's Aid and the lives of their service users in our community. Well done  to all pupils who took part this year. We are in our 4th year of facilitating the YPI initiative on  behalf of The Wood Foundation across the Western Isles, and the standard of presentations  and engagement with local charities is inspiring."

CalMac's regional support of YPI sees it partner with 10 schools including the Nicolson Institute, Sir E Scott school, Sgoil Lionacleit and Castlebay. CalMac colleagues act as judges at school's finals, as well as offering mentoring support to the young people involved in the programme.

Christina MacKay, Customer Advisor in Stornoway for CalMac, said: "I thoroughly enjoyed supporting the programme as a judge at the YPI final. I was really encouraged by the young people and have huge admiration for the work they put into the programme."

Gordon McKillop, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for CalMac, said: "Young people are increasingly more aware of social issues and the effect on the lives of people in their communities. YPI is a wonderful example of partnership working and we are proud that our people support the young people involved progress through the programme and make a difference in their local area."

More than 250 schools in Scotland will complete YPI this academic year. Since it was launched in Scotland by The Wood Foundation in 2008, it has empowered more than 230,000 young people to make a difference in their communities, granting in excess of £5m to local charities addressing a range of social issues.

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