£3,000 prize scooped by LGBT Youth team

Left to right: Richard Burke (film producer), Stuart Donaldson (MP), Lady Helen Wood (Wood Family Trust), Issey Urquhart, Elysia Garantini, Dennis Robertson (MSP), Mr Q

Left to right: Richard Burke (film producer), Stuart Donaldson (MP), Lady Helen Wood (Wood Family Trust), Issey Urquhart, Elysia Garantini, Dennis Robertson (MSP), Mr Q

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Banchory Academy’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) final was won by two girls representing LGBT Youth last Friday.

Elysia Garantini and Issey Urquhart emerged victorious from the Dragon’s Den-style panel competition, beating seven other teams to secure £3,000 for LGBT Youth.

Issey said: “We’ve discussed with LGBT Youth what we would do with the £3,000 if we won it - it will either be going towards LGBT representatives going around all the secondary schools in Aberdeenshire to educate the teachers further on homophobia and how to spot it in the classrooms, or it will go on setting up a service in Banchory, but the funding will only be able to support that for six months.

“We still haven’t decided what we’re going to do. We are also going to set up a support group within the school for anyone who might need to talk about anything LGBT related.”

One of the girls had a personal experience of using LGBT Youth when she found herself in this situation and mentioned that she would never have had the confidence to stand up and speak about it if it wasn’t for the people at LGBT who helped her through this difficult time in her life.

Graeme Ross, education capacity building officer for LGBT Youth, said: “It’s testament to Issy and Elysia’s hard work and dedication to improving the lives of LGBT young people that their efforts have been recognised in this way. Education is the location where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people feel they face the most discrimination. 69.1% of all LGBT respondents had experienced homophobic or biphobic bullying in school.

“Issy and Elysia’s campaigning and this award will have real impact and will support LGBT Youth Scotland to engage with more schools and communities in Aberdeenshire. We look forward to working with them to bring about change to ensure LGBT young people are embraced as full members of the Scottish family at home, school and in every community.”

The YPI is run through the Wood Foundation, and Banchory Academy is one of the original schools which piloted the programme in 2008.

There were eight teams competing, and charities represented included: Forget-Me-Not, Rape and Abuse Scotland, Banchory and District Initiative, Penumbra, Camphill Medical Centre, LGBT Youth, and SCILL.