A group of Edgware pupils have won £3,000 for a local charity after taking part in a pilot educational programme designed to raise awareness of philanthropy among young people.

Year Ten students Lucy Ogilvie-Herald, Georgina MacDonald, Lori Westmoreland and Saffron Gallorotti from The London Academy, in Spur Road, battled against more than 100 pupils from their school to prove that their chosen charity Penniwells, an Elstree charity providing horse-riding lessons for the disabled, was most deserving of the £3,000 prize.

The programme, being piloted by the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) at ten UK schools as part of their school citizenship syllabus, aims to give pupils a hands-on experience of philanthropy to help them make a difference to their communities.

Pupils in Years Nine and Ten, aged 14 and 15, work in small groups to identify the grassroots charity they believe is best placed to make a positive contribution to their community. They then analyse the charity's management, budget and staffing arrangements and, following classes in advocacy and public speaking, present to the rest of the school on the reasons their proposed charity is most deserving of support.

The group judged to have made the best presentation is granted £3,000, provided by Credit Suisse Investment Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland, to award to their charity.

James Townsend, YPI programme manager, said he was "incredibly impressed" with the London Academy students who took part in the presentations, held on Febuary 6.

He added: "The pupils were not only really passionate about the charities they were supporting, they were also very knowledgeable. They really understood what each charity was trying to do on a very impressive level for their age.

"I hope that YPI will inspire them to continue supporting the great work local charities are doing."

Matt Sheldon, London Academy community liaison officer, said: "All the pupils really rose to the challenge of presenting in front of a large group of people. It was fantastic to see pupils, teachers, parents and charity representatives gathered here and working together to improve our community."

The YPI was founded in a Canadian school in 2002 by philanthropist Julie Toskan -Casale. By 2007, more than 12,000 pupils at 120 schools across Canada were taking part, and the programme was expanded to ten schools in the UK. By 2009, it is hoped that this number will have increased to 55.

The Institute for Philanthropy, an international charity dedicated to encouraging charitable giving, runs YPI in the UK on behalf of the Toskan Casale Foundation.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the YPI scheme should write to ypi@instituteforphilanthropy.org.uk