A KILWINNING pupil has been praised for helping foster kids keep their spirits up in lockdown videos.

Sixteen-year-old Kate Gill has been helping kids who have been through the care system keep connecting throughout lockdown after being involved with the group since in 2018 with North Ayrshire Fostering and Adoption.

And Katie was recently presented with a colourful tie for her efforts by head teacher Tim Swan after the kids returned to Kilwinning Academy after the coronavirus shutdown back in March.

She said: “In 2018, me and some social workers from North Ayrshire Council started a children’s group within fostering and adoption because we felt that there wasn’t enough for them to go and feel free to be themselves. It was started at first to give them as a sort of safe space for them to go to.

“We’ve done it ever since then every Monday night but as lockdown approached we couldn’t get the children together. So it started off as weekly videos with a craft and a little activity and activity books but then as it progressed we started doing one video a day.

“We started doing lots more crafts and activities, then developed our own slogan of Stay Safe and Keep Smiling.

“So we did videos and stuff and started a campaign with elderly people called Hug Bugs with CLASP, where the kids would write notes to people who might be lonely and sent them out little wooden hug hearts. The feedback we got for that was amazing as it was so good for the older people and so good for the children as well.

“At the start back in 2018 it was about 20 children with an older group and a younger group but as it progressed there are now about 40 kids in a closed group, but then the videos are getting hundreds of views.

“It was so good the response we got when it started. Loads of the children were sending stuff in. We set up a WhatsApp group chat for the carers, and they were able to send in what the kids had done, so if they were doing something under lockdown all the other kids could still see, celebrate it and compare it.

“It was so helpful being able to link up with the carers throughout this. It kept me busy in lockdown as well and it kept everyone’s morale up and as it kept going on it left everyone smiling.

“I wanted to be a positive role model as, although the adults run it they thought it would be good to have a younger person there as a role model. What the group is based around is the Ghillie Dhu crew and I was chief Ghillie Dhu and we have a chant about showing morals and empathy.

“Its done a lot for the children and they’ve been able to celebrate themselves.”