CHARITABLE pupils from Galashiels Academy have celebrated scooping a major award by handing over their £3,000 winnings to a local good cause.

The quartet of third year pupils – Kacey Edmison, Ines Guthrie, Ellie Glendinning and Emma Brus – were crowned winners of this year’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative. The secondary school programme promotes connecting young people with social issues and local charities.

The Academy quartet chose Borders Additional Needs Group (BANG) as their focus charity earlier this year.

BANG was set up by parents of children with special needs to support other families who have youngsters with additional, complex or rare conditions.

And last week the winning girls handed over the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative grant of £3000 to representatives of the charity.

Pauline Charles, chairperson and co-founder of BANG, told the Border Telegraph: “We were delighted that the girls chose our charity as part of the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative earlier this year.

“As well as meeting with us, they visited parents to give them a real insight into the valued work we do. All the girls demonstrated a genuine interest in the impact of our charity and had completed a significant amount of research prior to the visits.

“They also showed an interest in the third sector and in the work that happens within our communities. “It was lovely to see their hard work and genuine empathy rewarded. They are a credit to Galashiels Academy and their parents, and an inspiration to their generation.

“The £3,000 is a tremendous contribution to our families and will provide social opportunities and Autism friendly events to many of our families within the region.”

The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative is seen as an important part of the S3 curriculum at the Academy as it helps pupils to understand more about the social issues that impact their community.

Groups are encouraged to research and make contact with local charities that address their chosen social issue.

And they explore how each charity has made a difference to people as well as how £3,000 could benefit both the charity and the people it supports.

Each entered group showcases their experiences and completed work to a panel composed of guest judges, senior pupils, staff and the rest of their year group. Kacey, Ines, Ellie and Emma were announced earlier this month as the 2017 winners.

Councillor Kris Chapman, the local authority’s Learning Disabilities Champion, said: “Huge congratulations to Kacey, Ines, Ellie and Emma on being declared winners of the YPI award and being able to make such a generous donation to BANG.

“Every day across the Borders, this worthy charity makes such a difference to the lives of families coping with the challenges of caring for a child with a disability and these funds will be a significant help to them in their work.”