A CHARITY which helps the homeless in the Borders has benefitted from a pupil project at Galashiels Academy.

Fresh Start Borders was presented with a cheque for £3,000 from the S2 pupils just before the summer holidays.

Duncan Hutchison, Frankie Lee, Fraser McAdam, Neil McIntyre, Freya McLeman, Chelsie Paterson, Chris Rae, Libby Runciman and Erin Watt were the successful students who won the school’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI).

And they chose Fresh Start Borders as the charity to receive the cash prize.

Irene McFadzen, chairman of Fresh Start Borders, said: “It has been a pleasure working with the YPI team from Galashiels Academy and we are delighted that they have been awarded the prize on behalf of Fresh Start Borders.

"Our motto is Making a Difference and this money will enable us to do that by purchasing necessary items such as kettles, duvets and pillows to include in the starter packs we provide to families embarking on new tenancies following a period of homelessness.”

YPI is an inclusive, multi-award-winning secondary school program that attempts to nurture compassionate communities by connecting young people to social issues and local charities.

The Academy’s S2 pupils complete their YPI projects as part of their social subjects’ curriculum, giving them the opportunity to understand more about the social issues that impact on their local community.

They are encouraged to research and make contact with local charities that address their chosen social issue, exploring how each charity has made a difference to people who utilise the services they provide in their local communities.

Pupils are then required to showcase their experiences and completed work to a panel composed of guest judges, senior pupils, staff and the rest of their year group.

Councillor Carol Hamilton, the local authority's Executive member for Children and Young People, added: “This is a tremendous initiative which allows pupils to develop an understanding of social issues impacting groups in their local community and developing their skillset as active citizens to help make effective change.

“The pupils have obviously worked extremely hard over the last eight weeks as part of their modern studies curriculum and both they and their teachers should be proud of what has been achieved.”