23rd January 2015
Blantyre school children have taken their campaign to challenge sectarianism to the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
Pupils from St Blane’s Primary School participated in the special promotional event aimed at raising awareness of work being undertaken in schools through leading anti-sectarian charity Nil by Mouth’s (NBM) ‘Champions for Change’ education programme.
Pupils learned about track safety and techniques before donning their helmets and getting the chance to sample for themselves the thrills and spills of track racing. The charity named St Blane’s as its ‘Gold Award’ winning school of the year for 2014 and pupils where joined at the event by NBM founder Cara Henderson who wanted to learn more about the schools efforts to bring people together. Cara set the charity up after the sectarian murder of her friend Mark Scott in 1995.
‘Champions for Change’ is a nationwide school programme which seeks to promote values of tolerance and understanding in schools and create an environment to discuss and tackle sectarian attitudes. During 2014 schools in 19 local authorities participated in it.
Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:
‘The pupils from St Blane’s are inspirational and have not only raised awareness of sectarianism but are actually doing something about it.
We named the school as our ‘Gold Award’ winners for 2014 because of the sheer depth and scope of its work and would like to thank Mrs Brown, Mrs O’Donnelly and Ms Cowie from the school and the Parent Teacher Council for driving this project forward.
We have worked with a number of schools across Lanarkshire and would remind teachers there is no charge for any of our services. We hope events like today encourage more schools to become involved. These young people are telling bigotry to get on its bike and by working together we will create a Scotland free from sectarianism.’