Pupils win £3k for charity

Four Mackie Academy pupils have battled their way through the rounds to convince judges that local charity K&D Befriending is worthy of a £3000 donation. The four pupils, who are now sixth year, took part in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI).

As part of the project, the winning team - Matthew Edwards, Alice Saward, Eleanor Affleck and Emily Kerr - had to pick a charity that they believed would provide a solid project for them to present and convince the judges that the work the charity does is extremely beneficial to the people involved.

One of the pupils Matthew Edwards, who spoke at the K&D Befriending AGM last Thursday, said he and his fellow pupils spent hours looking through hundreds of charities before deciding on K&D Befriending.

K&D Befriending is a charity based in Stonehaven and Banchory which supplies volunteer befrienders to reduce social isolation and loneliness in older people by matching them on a one to one basis with a befriender.

As people become older and less mobile, many can experience isolation and loneliness. Often this happens as a result of bereavement, illness or family migration which may result in depression and general poor health which can contribute to older people leaving their homes and moving into residential accommodation.

K&D Befriending match their befriending volunteers to their elderly clients and they carry out the simple requests that the clients would like, for example taking them for their shopping, having a chat, playing a game, or taking them in their car for a drive or to see the tide coming in.

The pupils took part in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) which is a flagship programme of the Wood Family Trust which was established by Sir Ian Wood and his immediate family in 2007.

The Youth Philthropy Initiative encourages pupils to identify a local grassroots charity and to present a case to a panel of local business people on why the chosen charity deserves the prize money. In the last year, the YPI was delivered to over 50 schools across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Perth & Kinross, Edinburgh and Greater Glasgow region with over 10,000 young people engaging in the programme and granting £408,000 to 136 local charities.

Speaking at their AGM on Thursday, Brigitte Matthews, K&D BEfriending’s Senior and Kincardine Co-ordinator said they were very grateful for the pupils choosing K&D Befriending and the donation of £3000 would be a huge help to the charity.

Matthew Edwards, who impressed the befrienders and clients with his presentation abilities at the AGM, gave a speech to let everyone know what they had done and why they had chosen the charity.

The sixth year pupil referred to how he would feel if his own grandmother, who lives far away, was left on her own as she got older with no one to help her with her day to day activities that most people take for granted.

There is currently a waiting list of clients and befrienders, but the charity requires funds to put befrienders through training to allow them to be matched, which this money will help to do.