Convincing presentation secures £3,000 for ArCaS

Judges Sergeant Jimmy Baird and Councillor Timothy Billings with the winning group made up of Lewis Gregg, Ben McCarthy, Niamh Gosman, Kirsty Hume and Emma Henderson.

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By Colin Smeeton

A group of five Arran High School pupils, who took part in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), has secured a £3,000 donation for its selected charity, ArCaS, by presenting the winning case as to why the charity should be chosen to receive the cash windfall.

S2 pupils Niamh Gosman, Kirsty Hume, Emma Henderson, Ben McCarthy and Lewis Gregg were this year’s winners after competing against 10 other groups which represented Arran charities: ArCaS, AHS Mountain Bike Club, RNLI, Arran Mountain Rescue Team, Sarda, Arran Pipe Band, Arran Land Initiative, Mary Davies Trust and Arran Visual Arts.


YPI was introduced to Scotland in 2008 by The Wood Foundation.

It aims to encourage pupils to develop skills and confidence, as well as to raise awareness of social issues and charitable causes, while also delivering targeted grants to local charities.

Arran High School’s S2 pupils began their YPI journey in January, when 11 groups began researching social issues on Arran, before choosing a charity that best represented their social cause.

Pupils then visited and interviewed their charities with some pupils volunteering at the organisation to learn more about them.


The groups committed to raising £250 towards the £3,000 prize by holding two bake sales, a football tournament and an Easter hamper raffle.

The Easter hampers were made up of donations from parents and island businesses: Lamlash Co-op, Red Door, Inspirations, Wooleys, Little Rock, A Taste of Arran, Arran Aromatics, The Cheese Shop, The Old Pier Cafe, The Shiphouse, Cafe Thyme.

The pupils ended up raising more than £870, meaning that money could be awarded to all finalist charities.

One of the two ArCaS groups held an ArCaS fashion show with more than 20 pupils modelling clothes from the charity shop.

The group sold tickets to pupils and staff to watch the fashion show and they sold some clothing items too. This raised nearly £120 which went directly to the charity.

A semi-final was then held at school with six groups going through to the final round.

The final event was attended by YPI co-ordinator, Ayrshire, Isobel Johnstone, along with parents and charity representatives.

Judges Siobhan Wilks, depute head, Police Sergeant Jimmy Baird, Councillor Timothy Billings, Grant Coyne S5 and Carter Chappell S5 selected the winning performance.

The winning charity, ArCaS, received £3,000, AHS Mountain Bike Club came in second place to receive £300 and each other finalists received £100.

Isabel praised the pupils for the standard of presentations saying: ‘I have attended more than half of the YPI finals, visited over 24 schools and I can honestly say that the standard of the presentations today has been among the highest I have witnessed.’

ArCaS secretary Mike Dobson said: ‘The whole team at ArCaS is absolutely thrilled at the outcome of the YPI presentations.

‘The students have already engaged with us in an enthusiastic and professional manner and we look forward to involving them in our future charitable initiatives.

‘The £3,000 donation will help us continue to improve the experience for people on Arran with cancer and/or those who are affected by cancer.

‘In particular, we will focus on reaching out to younger people and introducing new initiatives to support families who need a boost during difficult times.

‘Involving young people with our work is something that has the power to energise our volunteers and bring new thinking to the charity and they are both things that we want to embrace whenever we can.’

The winning group received an invitation to attend the National YPI Showcase Event at Perth Concert Hall on Wednesday June 15, where they will be accompanied by Mara Gosman, faculty leader social subjects, and Matthew Reid, faculty leader languages.

Social subjects faculty leader Mara Gosman thanks all of the pupils for their efforts and all of the visitors for attending the YPI final event. 01_B20YPIMG01

Judges Sergeant Jimmy Baird and Councillor Timothy Billings with the winning group  of Lewis Gregg, Ben McCarthy, Niamh Gosman, Kirsty Hume and Emma Henderson. 01_B20YPIMG02

The judging panel: Siobhan Wilks, AHS deputy head teacher; Carter Chappell, S5 pupil; Grant Coyne, S5 pupil; Sergeant Jimmy Baird, Lamlash Police; Timothy Billings, Lamlash Improvements Group and local councillor. 01_B20YPIMG03

Isabel Johnstone, YPI regional facilitator, and the winning group present ArCaS volunteers Mary Young, Janet Rawling and Andrew Walsh with the winning cheque. 01_B20YPIMG04

Runners-up representing Arran High School Mountain Bike Club, Cameron Mack, Jenny Currie, Katherine Coyle, Euan Morrison, Filip Dybalski, with AHSMTBC chairman Robert McNeice. 01_B20YPIMG05