11 May 2016
People across Scotland are being urged to dig deep to fund the battle against bigotry in our classrooms.
Nil by Mouth today launched a new fundraising drive aimed at creating a generation of ‘Champions for Change’ in schools across Scotland. The appeal was launched by pupils from Cairns and St Cadoc’s Primaries in Cambuslang at an event held at Hampden Park.
‘Champions for Change’ is the charity’s nationwide schools programme which seeks to promote positive relationships between children from different religious and cultural traditions through a range of educational, sporting and cultural activities. During 2015/16 the programme was delivered, free of charge, to more than 7,000 pupils in 96 schools across 21 local authority areas
At Hampden pupils collected special ‘Champions for Change’ awards recognising their schools efforts tackling sectarianism together. The Cambuslang schools have worked with Nil By Mouth for the past six years with regular workshops, assemblies and a number of showcase events highlighting their partnership. Last year pupils from the schools wrote and recorded “Stamp it Out”, a song with a strong message against sectarianism and bullying. Pupils also enjoy weekly football sessions together and the schools coordinate their anti-sectarianism message across the curriculum.
Now the charity is hoping that the Scottish public will dig deep to help support similar successful school partnerships across the country. The ‘Champions for Change’ appeal hopes people will donate £3 a month to help fund this grassroots work allowing pupils and teachers the chance to build bridges between communities.
Nil by Mouth was set up by Glasgow teenager Cara Henderson in response to the brutal sectarian murder of her school friend Mark Scott in 1995. Since then the charity has campaigned against sectarianism on and off the terraces, securing changes in the law, a rehab programme for those convicted of sectarian offences, numerous nationwide awareness campaigns and delivering to tens of thousands of people in schools, colleges, universities, workplaces and communities across Scotland.
Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:
‘Education is the key to creating a Scotland free from bigotry and last year was a record breaking one for our schools programme with over 7,000 pupils taking part from nearly 100 schools. A major part of the programme is bringing pupils from different religious and cultural backgrounds together, allowing us to effectively challenge myths and stereotypes some may have about others. We explore history, language, attitudes, values and encourage pupils to come up with their own ideas to raise awareness of the negative impact of sectarianism on our society and promote greater tolerance and respect.
We have had incredible success with this model over recent years with schools in areas such as Cambuslang, Bellshill, Larkhall, East Kilbride, Blantyre and Wishaw taking part. All our services are offered free of charge but there can often be costs for transport, tickets to events, use of recording studios and venue hire. We have loads of schools already wanting to sign up for next term so we are launching this appeal and asking people to consider donating £3 a month over the next year to give schools a budget to cover these additional costs. Even if we can get 100 people to sign up to this pledge we would raise over £3,500 and fund 10 school partnerships for a term. A little really can go a long way. BT have kindly provided us with an online donation facility and the money raised will go toward supporting specific projects where schools come together to celebrate difference such as world record attempts, sport competitions, recording their own songs and attending cultural events together.
Through ‘Champions for Change’ we have seen new friendships formed, old prejudices banished and strong relationships between schools built. We believe that people across Scotland are ready to call time on sectarianism and by backing the ‘Champions for Change’ appeal you are helping support the generation which will banish it once and for all.’
Donations can be made via our special BT donate page: