Prince’s Trust project spreads festive good will

Photo L – R
Front row: Paige Blair, Shamain Brown, Lisa Blair, Jasmine Watt (Social Work student), Jayne Young, Kerry Smith (Prince’s Trust Team Leader), Natalie Brownlie.
Back row: Fraser Mclean, Tristan Ewing, Billy Cameron

(Photo above: L-R. Front row: Paige Blair, Shamain Brown, Lisa Blair, Jasmine Watt (Social Work student), Jayne Young, Kerry Smith (Prince’s Trust Team Leader), Natalie Brownlie. Back row: Fraser Mclean, Tristan Ewing, Billy Cameron)

Young people from Edinburgh College’s Prince’s Trust programme are spreading festive good will, donating hampers filled with gifts to those in need across Edinburgh.

The gesture is the result of an annual project which gives students on the programme the opportunity to reach out to vulnerable people in the community.

The class held a fair at the college’s community hub Gate 55 as well as taking part in a fancy dress run in the city centre, raising a total of £647. The money went towards toys, clothes and food with each student choosing their own charity or organisation to give their presents too. Many of the charities, which range from the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home to the Broomhouse Homeless Hostel, are close to their hearts.

Billy Cameron lost his mum this year, deciding to donate a luxury hamper to an elderly women in care who was recently widowed. 16 year old Natalie Brownlie is giving 27 toys and selection boxes to Hailesland Child and Family Centre who looked after her younger sister when she fell ill.

She said: “I wanted to do something special for the staff at Hailesland because they’ve been there for my sister every step of the way. The project has shown us all that we can help someone and make a difference. My family haven’t had it easy but this has made me think about what I do have.”

Another student contacted the Broomhouse Hostel and bought five jackets for those at the centre who don’t have a coat this winter. Gifts are also being donated to a young carer and children at women’s aid and tomorrow the class is taking the remaining money to the Social Bite cafes, to grant a homeless personal a warm meal on Christmas day.

Kerry Smith, Prince’s Trust team leader and mentor on the project said: “The whole experience has been a real eye opener. These young people haven’t got a lot themselves so it’s been an amazing journey to watch them go on.

“The project has helped them develop new skills and confidence like picking up the phone and organising a fundraising event.”

Jasmine Watt, a social work student at the college and helper throughout the project added: “It’s been a huge journey of personal development and really sobering. I’m so proud of everyone and what they’ve achieved.”

The 12 week programme, run three times each year in Wester Hails, helps young people from difficult backgrounds change their lives.

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