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PSE - Touch of humankindness

A charity has received a pound;3,000 boost thanks to school pupils, one of Scotland's wealthiest families and the founders of a leading cosmetics company.

In 2002, the founders of MAC cosmetics created the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative, a programme that gives secondary pupils a taste of philanthropy by encouraging them to research the social problems on their doorstep, think about solutions and identify charities best placed to turn things around.

Small teams of pupils then compete against each other to secure a donation for their chosen charity by presenting their case, based on their own research.

The scheme recently arrived in Scotland where it is being backed by the Wood Family Trust to the tune of pound;400,000 over the next three years. Each winning charity receives a donation of pound;3000.

In the case of Mary Erskine School, the first of 10 Edinburgh schools to participate, six charities attended a presentation evening where pupils tried to impress a panel of judges on the importance of the work being carried out by their charity of choice.

The five girls who proved most persuasive backed Circle Scotland, a charity which provides holistic, community-based support to marginalised children and families. They visited Circle's Restalrig project in Leith, where 24 S5-6 pupils from local secondaries mentor children who are failing in the school system. The cash will help pay for computers, so the youngsters can be supported by their mentors to complete homework and school projects.

The roll-out of YPI across Scotland was announced last year, following a successful pilot in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire schools.


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