A group of Peterhead Academy S6 pupils presented their finalised plans for a brand new sensory room last week after winning a £3000 grant through the Youth and
Philanthropy Initiative (YPI).
Five pupils took part in YPI last year, a programme currently delivered in 110 Scottish secondary schools by the Wood Family Trust.
Each participating school selects a year group to deliver the programme which is then split into teams.
Each team researches a local social service issue they feel passionate about and identify an appropriate local charity.
They work together to create presentations and go through stages before finalists present in front of judges and the group with the most discerning and impassioned argument wins £3000.
Olivia Stephen, Brittany Smith, Danielle Lormier, Joel Robertson, and Richard Pollock, who were S5 at the time, recognised that there was insufficient provision in their school and wider community for pupils affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
They got in touch with the National Autistic Society who signposted Scottish charity, SensationALL who helped make their plan a reality.
Peterhead Academy matched the prize, resulting in a total of £6000.
The pupils have since gone through board meetings, performed presentations, and spoke in front of hundreds of people at the annual YPI National Event last year.
They have also been given agreement by Aberdeenshire Council to merge their sensory room with a classroom to make it easily accessible by pupils and staffed accordingly and have also ensured that staff and senior pupils will be trained to work with pupils affected by ASD.
Construction of the sensory room is planned to begin within the next few months and is hoped to be finished before the group leave school.
The facility will provide a safe and calming environment for children affected by ASD, as well as a place to help them learn and communicate within an area best suited to their needs.
Jonathan Christie, YPI Scotland Manager said: “The determination and drive of the students throughout the process has been remarkable and their continued post-programme engagement has been exemplary.
“They are creating a service that will be an asset to the school and will leave behind a lasting legacy of their hard work long after they have left Peterhead Academy.”