CalMac backs west coast youth development projects

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Young people in coastal communities, including those in the Western Isles and Lochaber, are set to benefit from a new CalMac partnership which aims to build new life skills while supporting local charities.

The ferry operator has committed to the Wood Foundation’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) and will be supporting its delivery in 11 schools across its area of operations.

The 11 schools taking part in the YPI this academic year supported by CalMac include those in Ullapool, Stornoway, Tarbert, Benbecula, Barra, Oban and Mallaig.

YPI is an active citizenship programme that empowers young people to make a difference in their local communities while developing new skills.

Pupils from participating schools form teams to research social issues in their area and the charities working to address them. They then make a case for their chosen charity as to why they should receive a £3,000 grant to help with their work.

Launching the partnership at St Columba’s High School in Gourock, CalMac’s director of human resources, Christine Roberts, said the company is constantly looking for ways it can become more involved in communities.

‘The twin aims of YPI in developing the skills of young people and supporting local charities addressing real social issues was a great fit for us,’ she added.

As part of its support, CalMac staff will have an opportunity to mentor young people throughout the project’s delivery.

‘From a personal development point of view, YPI gives our staff the opportunity to share their skills and get involved with a project that will benefit their own community,’ added Ms Roberts.

‘Supporting YPI gives us a chance to make positive impacts by empowering young people to make a real difference where they live.’

Taking part in the programme builds students’ teamwork skills and confidence, improves presentation and project planning skills, and gets them involved more in their community.

More than 170,000 young people from across the country have taken part in YPI since it was introduced in Scotland in 2008.