29 January 2017

Geraldine receiving her award from local MSP Stuart McMillan MSP

The efforts of an Inverclyde woman to build bridges between people from across the religious divide have been recognised with a national award.

Since 2012 Geraldine Harron has been volunteering for the ‘Gies Peace’ project ran by the Inverclyde Community Development Trust, which seeks to explore the history of sectarianism in Inverclyde and bring people from different backgrounds together to explore hate crime, discrimination and living with difference.

Over this time she has given thousands of hours of volunteering to the programme in such diverse ways as taking part in short films and radio plays produced by local people, participating in community action days and workshops and even presenting to MSPs at the Scottish Parliament.

Geraldine’s commitment to the cause has now been recognised by Nil by Mouth who decided to present her with its national ‘Champions for Change’ award which recognises outstanding contribution to tackling sectarianism in Scotland.

Geraldine was presented with her award by Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott and local MSP Stuart McMillan at a ceremony in Greenock.

Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott Said:

‘Over the last few years we have been working on a number of projects and events with ‘Gies Peace’ and Geraldine has been heavily involved in each and every one of them. She is a determined and passionate activist and I have always been struck by the energy she brings to the cause of building bridges between people and helping them better understand difference. Gies Peace is one of the most successful projects we have seen to tackle sectarianism in recent years and Geraldine personifies the enthusiasm and commitment the volunteers and staff involved have brought to the project. We are delighted to be able to officially recognise her commitment to the cause of tolerance and respect in Scotland.’ 

Laura Mathieson, Project Co-ordinator said:

“The project continues to support members of the community to understand how these  issues relate to their experience of living in Inverclyde. This year we are working with volunteers like Geraldine, to gather oral histories, personal accounts of living with difference, and to look at hate crime, hate behaviour and sectarianism through the lens of human and children’s rights. The project would not continue to deliver without the support of volunteers and participants, we thank Geraldine and all other volunteers for their commitment and energy. If you would like to get involved in the project as a volunteer or share your story as part of our oral histories project “A Different Story…” contact me on (01475)553334 or email laura.mathieson@the-trust.org.uk.”