Biggar Battles Bigotry

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photo 122 June 2015

A group of campaigning pupils from Biggar High School have had their efforts to tackle sectarianism recognised.  Pupils from the school have been working with Nil by Mouth on a peer education programme which has seen them plan and deliver anti-sectarian workshops in primary schools across South Lanarkshire.

The charity were so impressed with their efforts that they arranged for the pupils to participate in the nationwide Saltire Awards programme which formally recognise the commitment and contribution of youth volunteering to voluntary organisations. The awards enable young volunteers to record the skills, experience and learning gained through successful volunteering placements provided by local and national voluntary agencies.

photo 2The young women from S4 worked across several local schools in the area including Carnwath, Coulter, Biggar, Libberton, Lammington, Crawford and Leadhills primaries. Working with the charity they developed a series of assemblies and activities for pupils to get across the message that difference is nothing to be scared off. The school will also us use their work as part of its application for Unicef’s ‘Rights Respecting School’ Award.photo 3

This is the latest set of awards to be won as part of Nil by Mouth’s ground breaking ‘Champions for Change’ schools programme which seeks to encourage pupils, staff and parents to use schools as a vehicle for tackling bigotry. Over the past 12 months the charity has worked across more than 20 local author ties right across Scotland.

At a ceremony at the school the six pupils were presented with Saltire Awards in recognition of the 150 hours of volunteering time they had given to the project.

Nil by Mouth Trustee Anne Beveridge said:

We are delighted to have been able to work with the pupils to help them achieve their Saltire Awards. They have shown a real commitment to tackling sectarianism and we have been very impressed with the peer education programme they created to work in local primary schools. They have encouraged primary 7 pupils to see difference as a good thing rather than something to be feared. These sessions were very well received and the pupils have shown that by working together people can create positive change.”

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