Inverness School Crowned UK Winners of European Prize

23 March 2009
SNP MEP Alyn Smith today (Monday) offered his wholehearted congratulations to the students from Millburn Academy, Inverness who were announced as the UK national winners of the Charlemagne Youth Prize 2009 on Friday.

The Charlemagne Youth Prize is for people aged between 16 and 30 who have been involved with projects helping to promote understanding between different European countries. The European Parliament and the Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen invite young people from all the EU Member States to participate in a competition on EU development, integration and European identity issues.

The European Charlemagne Youth Prize aims at encouraging the development of a European consciousness among young people, as well as their participation in European integration project.

The volunteers behind the Talita Kum project were Milburn Academy students: Lewis Ross, Phi Macdonald, Mhairi McGowan, Kayleigh Berg, Daniel McWilliams, Fraser Kane and Sarah-Jane Savage. The Talita Kum project, which has been going for six years, involves taking a group of senior school pupil volunteers from Millburn Academy in Inverness to the Jimbolia region of Romania. The object is to take children from some of the poorest families in Jimbolia for a two weeks summer holiday in a project organised with assistance from Romanian organisations and citizens. The camp offers a rare opportunity for the Romanian children to escape often difficult circumstances and to engage in entertainment and education, with the aim of helping them to reach their full potential.

Speaking from Edinburgh, Mr Smith said:

"I felt a great sense of pride when I heard that a Scottish High School had beaten off stiff competition to be crowned the UK national winners of the prestigious Charlemagne Youth Prize. The seven volunteers from Millburn Academy should be very proud of all their hard efforts.

"The judges were looking for projects that would serve as role models for young people living in Europe. They wanted to see practical examples of Europeans living together, whether through the organisation of youth events, youth exchanges or internet projects with a European dimension. The Talita Kum project did just that and more. The team should be praised for their commendable efforts in promoting the development of a shared sense of European identity and offering examples of Europeans living together as one community.

"I wish them all the best for the final and encourage them to keep up the good work."

Milburn Academy, the UK National winners will now go forward to the European level. The Charlemagne Youth Prize for 2009 will be awarded in Aachen on 19 May.