A Tayside teenager who works tirelessly for his community has completed an incredible year of volunteering which took him to the United Nations in Geneva.
James Anderson, 15, of Friockheim, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, fills his days helping others, from salting the pavements in his village to giving anti-bullying talks.
The fourth year pupil at Carnoustie High School attends Dundee and Angus College in Arbroath on Friday mornings, where he is studying hospitality and professional cookery, before volunteering with Angus Carers in the afternoon.
He has clocked up more than 200 hours voluntary service, gaining his Saltire Award,and recently passed his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.
With 2018 being the Scottish Government’s ‘Year of the Young People’, James has been praised for his work with school pupils to help tackle bullying.
His proud dad Stewart explained: “James is on the autism spectrum and likes volunteering and assisting the community – that’s his thing.
“He has been attending Enable Scotland’s youth group at Salvation Army Hall in Arbroath on Monday nights for a number of years and is a ‘Change Champion’.”
James took part in their anti-bullying campaign and does workshops with local schools and youth groups.
He attended the UN meeting in Geneva in September where he spoke about his work against bullying and cyber-bullying.
Stewart continued: “That was an experience and quite a challenge. He spoke about what he does through Enable.
“He has experienced bullying at school. It was quite subtle, not physical, just kids bumping into him trying to wind him up and trying to get him into trouble.
“He has given anti-bullying talks at Inverbrothock Primary School and the cubs in Arbroath.
“Last month he was named Enable Change Champion campaign ambassador of the year.”
As well as campaigning for young people, James also looks after his neighbours.
He runs his own bin washing company and last week Forfar-based Andrew Shepherd Construction presented him with a salt spreader to help him keep the pavements clear of ice.
On some mornings, he gets up 5am before going to school as he is concerned someone will slip.
He has also adopted a street for litter picking which has now extended to Friockheim Park, and set up a Facebook page to let people know about the park’s amenities.
Recently he has become involved with the Friockheim Hub and hopes to start volunteering in the new year.
Praising James’s dedication Angus councillor Lois Speed, Independent member for Arbroath East and Lunan, said: “This is an absolutely incredible story.
“James is such an inspirational young man and a shining example for us all to look up to and feel proud.
“I’m amazed by the amount of work, various projects and initiatives James is involved in, he is tackling major issues head on and demonstrating real active citizenship.
“It’s very humbling and deserves top recognition and all of our attention.”