Skip to content

Stromness Academy pupils win £3,000 for Orkney Drugs Dog charity

Stromness Academy pupils win £3,000 for Orkney Drugs Dog charity
28 June 2021

Donation will go towards second detection dog

The Orkney Drugs Dog charity has benefited from a £3,000 donation thanks to the efforts of a trio from Orkney Islands Council’s Stromness Academy - chosen as the winning team in this year’s returning Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI).

Despite some stiff competition, Eilidh Cursiter , Gabrielle Shoesmith and Zara Johnston were named winners for their research and presentation focusing on a social issue important to them.

The pupils explained why they chose the Orkney Drugs Dog charity. “We think this is a problem in our community and we do not want it to increase and let drugs hurt people we know. We know the massive impact drugs have in our modern-day society and we will continue to work hard to spread awareness of this issue.”

Within their presentation, the team stressed the importance of educating more people to stay safe and went on to explain the background to the charity itself.

The team said: “Currently they have one drugs dog handler and one dog called Zoe. Top priorities are to contribute to the reduction of the supply of controlled drugs coming into Orkney with help from Zoe and her handler; to help prevent the use of illegal drugs for health benefits; to spread the knowledge of drugs and to educate the community on how damaging they are to people, families, society and the economy.”Stromness Academy pupils with Zoe the Drugs Dog.

Pupils at Stromness Academy have been working in teams since the start of the year, researching a social issue that they feel passionate about and creating a presentation on a charity of their choice.

The YPI is a citizenship programme, which empowers young people to make a difference in their communities, was introduced to Scotland in 2008 by The Wood Foundation.

Pupils worked in teams to research a social issue that they were passionate about and created presentations on a charity of their choice. Stromness Academy’s finalists represented four local charities – Orkney Drugs Dog, MS Orkney (Calvin Black, Lana Davidson, Beth Fisher, Emily Fisher, Leah Hamilton, Kayla Harvey and Elsa McKintosh; CLAN (Cameron Bradley, Fraser Burton, Bradley Cormack and Sarah Corrigall); The Men’s Shed (Olivia Macnamara, Kenzey Ritch, Erin Sinclair, Rune Sundholm Durkin, Ruby Williams, James Hogg, Fergus Pearson and Scott Shearer.

This year the final was held virtually with judges – Carol Dunbar, Anne Robertson Karen Walker - taking part via a video call with pupils from the school. They had watched the presentations in advance and asked questions of the pupils involved.

Andrew Drever, Chairman of Orkney Drugs Dog Charity, said: “Orkney Drugs Dog is delighted for Zara, Eilidh and Gabrielle in their YPI win and the £3,000 prize for our charity.

“During 2020/2021, Zoe assisted in the detection and seizure of substantial quantities of illegal drugs with an estimated street value of almost £90,000. Having seen the presentation that the pupils compiled, we were impressed by the clear understanding they have on the dangers of using illegal drugs.

“The timing of this award is excellent as we are looking to source an additional drug detection dog and the £3,000 will go directly towards the purchase and training once we find a suitable dog.

“YPI has given an excellent opportunity for charities to interact with both Stromness Academy and Kirkwall Grammar School pupils and helps Orkney Drugs Dog get an insight into the educational needs that we can fill within the curriculum.”

Zoe and Kevin Moar, drugs detection dog handler, visit Orkney’s schools helping educate young people.

Kevin said: “I am very grateful for the hard work done by Zara, Eilidh and Gabrielle enabling them to win this year’s YPI at Stromness Academy whilst supporting Orkney Drugs Dog. They should rightfully be extremely proud of their efforts and on behalf of the Charity, I would like to thank them for choosing us to support.

“Their efforts with the presentation will have undoubtedly raised awareness of the aims of the charity and how it is trying to help make Orkney a safer place for future generations through the deployment of Zoe our drugs detection dog and delivery of drug awareness education to the Orkney community.

“Orkney Drugs Dog was formally launched in October 2017 and after initial set up and ensuring funding was in place employed me as the dog handler in January 2019. Zoe our first drugs detection dog completed training and we became operationally licensed in May 2019. Since then, Zoe has been deployed throughout Orkney conducting scans of people at ports of entry as well as mail and freight checks and assisting Police Scotland in the execution of search warrants.

“YPI is a great resource which allows Charities throughout Orkney to engage with students raising the profile of these Charities with an age group that may be unaware of how important these Charities can be in supporting the local community.

“The £3,000 prize money will benefit Orkney Drugs Dog greatly and will go towards obtaining and training a second dog to support Zoe in her role.”

Stromness Academy would like to extend their gratitude to Carol Dunbar, Anne Robertson, Karen Walker, and representatives of local charities who helped the pupils with their research.

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

Translate this website

Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS