Two high school students from Aberdeenshire won a £3,000 to tackle homophobia in local schools.
The two students from Banchory Academy won the funding for their charity of choice, LGBT Youth Scotland, as part of the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) Scotland, reported The Aberdeen Press and Journal.
The schools has been taking part in the YPI as part of The Wood Foundation since 2008.
The chosen charities included Forget-Me-Not, Rape and Abuse Scotland, Banchory and District Initiatives, Penumbra, Camphill Medical Practice, LGBT Youth Scotland, and SCILL (Supporting Children In Learning for Life(.
The judging panel included Lady Helen Wood, north-east MP and former Banchory Academy pupil, Stuart Donaldson, and film producer and screenwriter Richard Burke, local businessman Bert McIntosh, and former head of English at the school, Anne Cooper.
Pupils Elysia Garantini and Issey Urquhart were chosen as the winners of the £3,000 for LGBT Youth following a video presentation.
“We’ve discussed with LGBT Youth what we would do with the £3,000 if we won it and now that we have won it, it will either be going towards LGBT representatives going around all the secondary schools in Aberdeenshire to educate the teachers further on homophobia and how to spot it in the classrooms,” said Urquhart.
“Or it will go on setting up a service in Banchory, but the funding will only be able to support that for six months. We still haven’t decided what we’re going to do.
“We are also going to set up a support group within the school for anyone who might need to talk about anything LGBT related,” she added.
Speaking with KaleidoScot, Graeme Ross, Education Capacity Building Officer of LGBT Youth Scotland, said: “It’s testament to Issy and Elysia’s hard work and dedication to improving the lives of LGBT young people that their efforts have been recognised in this way. The Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People: Education report found that education is the location where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people feel they face the most discrimination. 69.1% of all LGBT respondents had experienced homophobic or biphobic bullying in school.
“Issy and Elysia’s campaigning and this award will have real impact and will support LGBT Youth Scotland to engage with more schools and communities in Aberdeenshire. We look forward to working with them to bring about change to ensure LGBT young people are embraced as full members of the Scottish family at home, school and in every community.”
Bethany Ewen from The Wood Foundation said, “the creativity shown throughout the presentations really engaged the audience and the passion for every charity, by every pupil, really shone through.”
McIntosh, one of the judges, is to donate money to the runners-up.
Banchory Academy has now directed £24,000 towards local causes through YPI Scotland.