Wood Family Trust provides £3.7million boost for projects

AID FOR GOOD CAUSES: Sir Ian Wood with  Jo Mackie, chief executive  of the Wood Family Trust.  Jim Irvine
AID FOR GOOD CAUSES: Sir Ian Wood with Jo Mackie, chief executive of the Wood Family Trust. Jim Irvine

A trust run by the family of oil services billionaire Sir Ian Wood has announced a £3.7million boost for three projects in this country and overseas.

They include a plan to increase the incomes of tea farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and schemes to combat youth unemployment in Scotland and provide volunteering opportunities for teachers. Sir Ian said the aim of his fund was to help charities prosper by applying good business principles.

The £50million Wood Family Trust (WFT) has committed £10.2million to good causes at home and abroad since 2007. The new projects include Imbarutso – Win Win for Rwanda Tea, a six-year programme which aims to increase the income of 30,000 smallholder tea farmers in the African country.

The £3million investment from the WFT is matched with £3million from Lord Sainsbury’s charitable foundation, Gatsby. It will complement the existing Chai programme in Tanzania and bring WFT’s total commitment to African projects to £6million.

Sir Ian said: “Our aim with the Imbarutso project is to reduce long-term poverty in Rwanda by helping to develop the tea industry, and increase smallholders’ incomes from tea farming.

“Across Rwanda and Tanzania, the tea industry supports more than 100,000 families. The work being done in the Chai project to tackle the constraints in the value chain is already showing signs of success. Supporting a new national pricing system has seen smallholder farmers increase their income by 15% already.”

In the UK, £425,000 will go to the Prince’s Trust Get Into project, which will support 1,450 young people into employment by giving them vocational skills, experience and qualifications.

This new investment brings the total committed to the Prince’s Trust by WFT since 2008 to £716,000. The funding has helped 650 unemployed young people, with 74% who completed the course moving into employment or further education within three months.

The third new project, which will receive £300,000, is a two-year pilot of the Global Teachers Programme. This will allow 45 Scottish teachers to take up a professional development placement in Ugandan and Ghanaian schools during the summer holidays. On their return, the teachers will be encouraged to create links between the schools and share their experiences with colleagues and pupils to promote global citizenship education across the Curriculum for Excellence.