A group of four students have put St Illtyd’s Catholic High School on the map taking center stage at the Senedd for the annual First Give Awards, winning £1,000 of grant money for their school.
The First Give Programme is aimed at secondary school children across the UK. Delivered through a fully resourced scheme of work that is interactive and student-led, it aims to ignite a spark of social conscience in young people.
Inspired by ‘Keep Wales Tidy’, Emily Crawford, Ffion Morris, Holly Tee and Laura Viggers who are currently in Year 10, decided to work with the charity in order to campaign to cut plastic waste. This included tackling the school’s litter problem head on, by organizing litter picking in tutor groups to ensure that all pupils got involved.
With the support of Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health the girls also led the school eco-committee in a variety of ways to action-plan for social change.
Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health said:
“I very much enjoyed visiting St Illtyds and meeting the winners of the First Give Programme.
“This is an impressive programme that works to actively encourage young people to work towards giving and supporting a charity of their choice. I look forward to visiting schools in the near future that take part in this excellent programme.”
Lloyd Rowe, Lead Practitioner and Head of Welsh Baccalaureate St Illtyd’s said:
“We are so proud of all our students that have taken part in the programme, the hundreds of people who attended the event were absolutely blown away by the performance of the night from Emily, Ffion, Holly and Laura. They really are a huge credit to us all!”
The programme has been a huge success so far in only its second year in Wales, with over 300 people attending the final this year. Attendees included Vaughan Gething and other cabinet members.
Leon Ward, Programme Manager of First Give, Wales reflected:
“We work in partnership with schools to help young people give their time, tenacity and talents to improve their local communities.
“We believe in young people. Their passion, creativity and determination are all positive qualities that can be harnessed for social change.
“I was thrilled at the standard of entries for this year’s awards. There truly were some remarkable performances and I am delighted to celebrate the fantastic achievements of these pupils.”
The programme had a huge impact on the students involved. Ffion Morris, Year 10 programme participant added:
“Participating in the First Give Programme helped me gain confidence, work in a team and showed me how many opportunities there are for young people. I am so thankful for the opportunity where I got to work with such wonderful people, raise money for charity and perform in such an extravagant building.”
Following their success, the four girls are thinking of applying for the Virgin Atlantic “Change is in the Air” funding award in order to take their project a step further by providing re-usable drinks bottles to every pupil in the school to cut down on plastic use – watch this space!