May 11 2018

Nil By Mouth Education Officer, Jamie Lithgow, with the Dundee East PSYV Group

Nil By Mouth’s Champions for Change programme has this week focused on the North East of Scotland with school pupils and young people from around the area teaming up with the charity to tackle sectarianism.

The charity made its first ever visit to an Angus primary school on Tuesday with P7 pupils from Hayshead Primary in Arbroath taking part in workshops. The pupils learned about different cultures, common stereotypes and why difference should be celebrated rather than feared. Nil By Mouth will return to Hayshead at the end of the month with a follow-up workshop focusing on the effects and consequences of offensive language. The workshops are designed to support pupils’ learning through their current novel study; Divided City by Theresa Breslin.

In Dundee, the charity has been engaging with the local Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYV). PSYV are groups of up to 24 young people supported by adult volunteers and led by a Police Constable. The programme aims to strengthen the relationship with the Police and young people, breaking down barriers and promoting positive role models. The programme is open to all young people aged 13 to 17 and promotes a practical way for young people to understand policing by supporting the Police in their local area through volunteering.

During their sessions with Nil By Mouth, the young volunteers learned more about identifying and defeating bigotry in Scotland. The young people also learned how to identify sectarian behaviour while also analysing and discussing sectarian language and comments from social media. Nil By Mouth’s partnership with PSYV is set to continue in the coming weeks with groups from across Glasgow also set to take part in workshops. In February the charity kicked off its partnership with Dundee City Council as part of its Beyond Religion & Belief workplace training package.

Nil By Mouth Education Officer, Jamie Lithgow, said:
‘It has been an absolute pleasure to visit Hayshead Primary and Dundee’s PSYV groups this week. I have been encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by all the young people to engage with and learn about a topic more stereotypically associated with other areas of the country. Sectarianism is not just a West Coast or Central Belt problem so by raising their awareness of the issue the young people from Arbroath and Dundee have helped to prepare themselves for later life, should sectarianism ever be something they encounter. This kind of positive attitude from them and their teachers/group leaders is exactly what we at Nil By Mouth want to promote.’