26th January 2017

Staff from Crerar Hotels hand over the cheque to NbM Education Officer Jamie Lithgow and pupils from Cairns & St Cadoc's Primary Schools
Staff from Crerar Hotels hand over the cheque to NbM Education Officer Jamie Lithgow and pupils from Cairns & St Cadoc’s Primary Schools

Efforts to build bridges between children from different religious and cultural communities received a boost today with a £4,000 donation to a ground breaking schools programme.

The Crerar Hotels Trust made the donation to support Nil by Mouth’s ‘Champions for Change’ schools programme which sees thousands of pupils from right across Scotland participate in workshops, sporting competitions and cultural activities together. A key part of the programme sees pupils from denominational and non-denominational schools link in with the charity to participate in a series of workshops exploring stereotypes, sectarianism, identity and misconceptions about religions and beliefs different to their own

The Trust presented a cheque to pupils from Cairns and St Cadoc’s Primary Schools in Cambuslang who have been working with Nil by Mouth over recent years on a number of projects aimed at celebrating community and helping children better understand difference.  In recent months the schools have teamed up to form a ‘Champions for Change’ choir to perform across Lanarkshire as well as take part in workshops and educational programmes.

The Trust is funded by the Crerar Hotel Group which operates 13 Hotels in Scotland. Giving back to local communities to improve the quality of everyday lives is at the heart of its work, and therefore, each year almost half of the hotel profits are donated to the Trust for distribution to charities and community projects local to Crerar Hotels. The Trust has awarded £7m of grants to over 400 organisations over the last 16 years and meets twice a year to award grants, with application periods closing on 1 April and 1 October, respectively.  In this current funding round, £315,652 of grants were awarded to 40 organisations providing support across health, education, and social inclusion to people of all ages.

Nil by Mouth was set up by 2014 Evening Times ‘Scotswoman of the Year’ Cara Henderson following the brutal sectarian murder of her school friend Mark Scott in 1995. Since then it has campaigned against sectarianism in schools, colleges, workplaces and communities across Scotland. During 2017 more than 5,000 pupils are expected to take part in its school programme thanks to support from the Crerar Hotels Trust.

Nil by Mouth Engagement Officer Emma Alexander said:
‘We are thrilled with this fantastic donation from the Crerar Hotels Trust to support our Champions for Change project. Demand for it is growing all the time and support like this allows us to deliver the programme free of charge and ensure that pupils can enjoy learning together and take part in activities which celebrate difference.  We have had incredible success with this model over recent years with schools in areas such as Cambuslang, Rutherglen, Mossend, Larkhall, East Kilbride, Blantyre and Wishaw taking part. The enthusiasm shown by the pupils, staff and parents for these ‘inter-school’ partnerships gives us real grounds for optimism in the future. Scotland is bigger, brighter and bolder than bigotry and we truly believe that this is the generation which will banish it once and for all.

Paddy Crerar, Chairman, of The Crerar Hotels Trust and Chief Executive of Crerar Hotels comments:
We are delighted to have made this award to Nil by Mouth and look forward to hearing how this funding helps impact their work. Crerar Hotels is committed to giving back to the local community to help it grow and thrive, and provide opportunities that may otherwise seem out of reach. For every stay our customers have with us they are supporting others, who really need it. It is great for our folk in the hotels to see their hard work and efforts helping people in their own communities as well as those from throughout the whole of Scotland and Yorkshire.”