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Dingwall Academy pupils do the double with £8K charity boost for Ross-shire Women's Aid and Mikeysline through trailblazing Youth and Philanthropy Initiative effort


By Hector MacKenzie

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The YPI team put together an impressive online presentation for the cause they championed.
The YPI team put together an impressive online presentation for the cause they championed.

CHARITIES offering a lifeline service to vulnerable people at a uniquely challenging time have been handed a welcome windfall thanks to the trailblazing efforts of Ross-shire schoolchildren.

In what is understood to be a first, Dingwall Academy pupils scooped two £4000 awards for local charities they championed under the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), overcoming the hurdle of collaborating remotely from home because of the coronavirus crisis.

The YPI team put together an impressive online presentation for the cause they championed.
The YPI team put together an impressive online presentation for the cause they championed.

Ross-shire Women's Aid and mental health charity Mikeysline both secured grants after online presentations put together by students.

Karen Cormack: Excellent learning experience and a welcome boost for charities at a challenging time.
Karen Cormack: Excellent learning experience and a welcome boost for charities at a challenging time.

Rector Karen Cormack said: "Dingwall Academy has a long record of involvement with the YPI initiative and we were determined that the school closures would not prevent us from taking part this year.

"Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the English and guidance departments, pupils still had the opportunity to take part. We were delighted to learn that the school was to receive not one, but two of the £4000 awards, as far as we are aware we were the only school in Highland to achieve this.

"The pupils have enjoyed a really positive learning experience, and as a result of their efforts two local charities will receive much-needed funds in these challenging times.”

Niamh O’Hara, a member of the Mikeysline team, admitted she was apprehensive about completing the project from home.

She said: "Learning from home is already difficult enough, so to be given a task which meant working in a group online was daunting but we faced it head on through Google hangouts and our group was pleased with how it turned out. We couldn't have done it without knowing our teachers were on the other end of the Google classroom to answer the questions that we had."

She said it felt "amazing to play a little part in helping the charity do what it does to support people when they feel that no-one else cares".

Donna Smith: A very welcome boost.
Donna Smith: A very welcome boost.

Donna Smith of Mikeysline said: "We were delighted to hear about the success from the Dingwall team. YPI is a fantastic initiative and at this time, when like a lot of charities we have been impacted by Covid and our income has dropped by around 50 per cent, this is very welcome news and we would like to say a huge well done to the team."

Adele Newlands, of Ross-shire Women's Aid said: "It always amazes us the amount of work and commitment that students put into their YPI project. When we heard that Dingwall Academy students had chosen RWA to do their project on during the difficult circumstances of lockdown we were blown away. Yet again another moving, powerful and thought evoking display of work. We were literally moved to tears seeing this piece of work at such a challenging time for everyone.

"We understand from our own service how difficult it has been for all Women, Children and Young People in the area during the pandemic. For Children and Young people this has been exceptionally hard, not being able to spend time with other relatives and their peers, not being able to finish up primary school and transition into secondary school and not returning to school before the summer holidays has been extremely challenging but we would like to give a huge shout out to all the

"Children and young people in our service, we think you have all done an amazing job at staying safe during these difficult times.

"We think the students at Dingwall Academy should be given a huge round of applause, as well as all the other contenders, at the commitment they have shown to put their project's together digitally and remotely throughout this time. It really does convey the brilliant use of technology and teamwork all in one.

"We want to thank the young ladies for demonstrating the effects of domestic abuse through such a powerful medium and for winning the grant for RWA. The money will be used to develop the children and young persons service whilst we find our new way of working within the service."

She said RWA continues operating a full service, "just not face to face at this time but we hope to reintroduce this when it is safe to do so".

You can reach us on 01349 863568, by email on info@rosswa.co.uk or by the Facebook page Ross-shire, Skye and Lochalsh Women’s Aid.

She said: "Please reach out if you need advice or if you have concerns for a friend or loved one – we are here and ready to help."

The Women's Aid pitch was put together by Moya Finlayson, Lauren Grant, Rosie Haines, Cloe MacLeod, Heather Thomson.

The Mikeysline team was Niamh O'Hara and Amy Moss.

Related: Six domestic abuse cases reported per day in Highlands

Home not a safe place to be for some women and children

Woman completes 30-day fitness challenge for Mikeysline

Hilton of Cadboll teacher goes global with Mikeysline push


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