As part of our contract with the Highland Third Sector Interface, VAL provides support to the four high schools in Lochaber – Ardnamurchan, Kinlochleven, Lochaber and Mallaig – as they deliver the YPI programme.

The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative is an active citizenship programme which empowers #generationchange to make a difference in their local communities while developing a host of skills. Each school is responsible for directing a £3000 YPI grant to a local charity through a unique programme of teamwork, research and competition.

Funded and fully supported by The Wood Foundation, the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative gives pupils in S3 a unique chance to get involved in the very heart of charity work in their local area. YPI aims:

  • To develop the next generation of responsible citizens and effective contributors,
  • To develop the skills and confidence of young people through a real-life, hands-on experience of philanthropy,
  • To raise awareness of social service issues and the work of local charities, and channel funds to them effectively.

Young people are encouraged to identify a social need in their locality and then investigate which charities are addressing that need. Participants are then encouraged to research the work of the charity, meet with them and find out more about their work. This is a great opportunity for charities to really sell themselves and the great work that they do, so that pupils may decide to ‘adopt’ this cause to attempt to win funding.

What difference could £3000 make to the work of your charity in Lochaber?

What about £6000? £9000? £12,000? There are four high schools, remember, and there’s no reason why they wouldn’t all choose the same charity…as long as they know about you!

So…what can you do and how can we help?

By putting together a quick pitch (perhaps a few hundred words or a couple of minutes of video?) to connect with local young people and make them empathise with the wonderful work that your organisation is doing, you can start to work towards this great local fund. Pupils will then come and see exactly what your group does before becoming ambassadors for the charity in question, not just to YPI but to the community in general. Could their presentation secure £3000 in funding for your cause?

If you’d like help to highlight what you do, in a way that will reach the high school audience, then please get in touch with us here at VAL. Call 01397 706044 or email

Best of luck!