Pupils provide a boost for Dalkeith-based veterans’ group

Staff from Lothian Veteran's Centre receiving cheque donations from pupils of Dalkeith  and Firhill High Schools.
Staff from Lothian Veteran's Centre receiving cheque donations from pupils of Dalkeith and Firhill High Schools.

Lothian Veterans’ Centre has been awarded grants from the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative Scotland thanks to pupils from two high schools.

Pupils from Firhill High School and Dalkeith High School won £3,000 each by giving a successful presentation to classmates about the Dalkeith-based charity. The money will go to setting up a hardship fund for local unemployed veterans.

It will also pay for a monthly day trip for veterans, with the first one at the National Mining Museum Scotland in Newtongrange for 12 people. The funding is expected to provide 10 trips in total.

Steven Williams, senior project worker at the Dalkeith centre, is delighted.

He said: “I’m over the moon. It’s great we can create this hardship fund and also give something back to the veterans community in general.

“The hardship fund is for those who might need a shop, or a top-up for their electricity. To support those hard-off people in our community.

“And with the day trips, we are helping to reach the hard to reach who may be stuck at home. Isolation is a big thing just now.

“As long as they have served in the forces they are eligible for this. It would be a random ballot. Veterans’ groups in the area will be informed as well. This is going to reach more people that may need our service.”

The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative Scotland is an active citizenship programme that raises awareness amongst young people about philanthropy and their local community.

Steven praised the pupils for winning the £6,000.

He said: “The kids did a really good job. It was nice to see their take on what we do. It makes us think that what we are doing is worthwhile.

“Both groups came here a couple of times to speak to us and the veterans.

“Each school registered on this initiative to get kids better at presentations and research. The kids chose a charity, investigated it and did a presentation to their classmates. Three schools approached us. Dalkeith, Firhill and Beeslack - where we were runners up.

“It’s usually through a connection to the armed services that they choose to help us. Say a family member in the forces. So we are a charity that means something to them.”