TWO Wee County teens have secured a major funding boost for a local charity.

Molly Robinson and Aimee Cook, both 15, chose to support Forth Valley Men's Shed as part of the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative at Lornshill Academy.

Their presentation, which highlighted how the Shed tackles loneliness and isolation in the community, impressed judges and won the award from the Your Community Fund.

The funding, which is crucial to the project, will go towards rent and equipment for the shed, ensuring it is able to open next month as Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Molly, from Tullibody, and Aimee, from Sauchie, worked together on the virtual presentation during the lockdown, with the support of their teacher.

The two pupils, who will be starting fourth year this month, had already visited the shed to meet members and see its work.

Talking about what inspired their choice, Molly said: "We wanted to choose a local charity, and we thought that not many people were aware of the Men's Shed.

"When we visited, they were so welcoming and they have great facilities. Many people in the area have struggles with mental health, so it is important to have a space like this.

"When we heard we'd won, we were over the moon. There were a lot of schools taking part, so we didn't expect it at all.

"I hope this will give them a boost and help them with rent and other costs."

Graham Reece, chairman of Forth Valley Men's Shed and an Age Scotland ambassador, said: "When Molly called and told me they'd won, you could have knocked me down with a feather.

"It will make a huge difference to the shed. This will allow us to keep paying our rent as well as buy equipment and materials.

"Our members make all kinds of things, mainly out of wood, from pens and bowls to guitars.

"The shed brings together men from all backgrounds, and is especially valued by those who live alone.

"The last few months have been difficult, but we have started meeting in a local park to make sure everybody is doing OK.

"We're hoping to start using the shed again later this month."

The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative is a nationwide active citizenship programme, encouraging young people to get involved with their community and find out about local social issues.

Teams have to deliver a presentation to a panel of judges, with the most persuasive pitch winning funding for their particular group.

Forth Valley Men's Shed, supported by Age Scotland, is one of more than 100 similar sheds in Scotland. Based at Ward Street, Alloa, it provides a space to meet and share hobbies such as woodwork and DIY. Although primarily aimed at retired men, it is open to people of all ages.