A group of young people from Rothesay Academy who have achieved success against the odds were crowned winners of the Community Impact Award at the Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards.
The awards ceremony, which took place on November 4, at The Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. was hosted by Grant Stott, and included celebrity guests Sanjeev Kohli, Grado, Finn Russell, Blythe Duff and and Miss Scotland’s Mhairi Fergusson, among others.
Before joining the XL programme, pupils from the Academy faced a range of issues including educational underachievement, learning difficulties and school exclusions.
Some of the pupils didn’t understand the impact of their actions and put up barriers to education, challenging those in authority. However, after completing the programme, which helps young people who are struggling at school, the group have now taken positive steps to get their lives on track.
“The group completed three projects this year, each of which was a huge success,” says Ailsa Cassidy, Youth Worker at Rothesay Academy. “By doing so they have all learnt new skills, quickly come together to work as a team and have taken themselves out of their comfort zones.
“Going out into the community to interact with people made them hesitant and shy, but as soon as they saw how people were engaged they opened up and their confidence grew.”
Three projects which the XL classes have undertaken include creating a display of gathered thoughts about their island, the making and distribution of Christmas hampers to those in need, and a Banana Olympics to raise awareness about Fairtrade, all of which have made a big impact, with parents stopping members in the street to praise their efforts.
One group member said: “Before joining XL I had no idea about the impact of what I was doing to others. I was putting up barriers and happier to be out of class than ask for help, but I now know it was getting me nowhere. Taking part in the projects really opened my eyes and made me realise how much better it is to be part of something useful.”
Jonathan Kemp, Commercial Director of AG Barr - sponsors of the XL class’s award - said: “The Community Impact award celebrates the positive difference young people from The Prince’s Trust have made to their communities.
“We are delighted to congratulate Rothesay Academy XL group. They are shining examples of how young people can help others, and themselves, when given the right support and opportunities. Well done to them all!”