July 3 2018

We had schools from right across Lanarkshire compete for the Kiss Bigotry Goodbye Cup

‘Put the Message in the box. Put the box into the car. Drive the car around the world. Until you get heard…’ (World Party)

If ever a song lyric encapsulated a month at work for Nil by Mouth staff and volunteers this is it.  We’ve always been a national charity because we know that sectarianism isn’t just a ‘Glasgow thing’. That is why we ensure that all our programmes and campaigns can be accessed by people right across Scotland.

During June we showed just how broad the reach and demand for our work has become with visits to 14 different local authority areas during the month.

It all kicked off in Perth on the 1st June where we delivered our pioneering Beyond Religion and Belief workplace project to staff at Perth and Kinross Council. In a first, the session was recorded in order to be used by staff across the authority through its intranet service. We also returned to Perth later in the month to deliver the latest in our Modern Apprentice training sessions to staff at Scotland’s largest company Scottish and Southern Energy. This has been an excellent partnership and shows how seriously the company take maintaining a workplace free of sectarianism.

Continuing in central Scotland we spent a day working with the new S5 year group at Wallace High School in Stirling with a particular focus on the consequences of posting abuse online. We also nipped across to Falkirk to spend a day with pupils at Victoria Primary School who wanted to know more about our work and think about how difference can be celebrated rather than feared. Clackmannanshire was next on our road trip to meet 50 pupils from Craigbank Primary School who had been reading the ‘Divided City’ novel and wanted to look at real life examples of sectarianism and think about what they could to create a kinder society.

We visited Dumfries and Galloway in the last few weeks of term to work on a special ‘inter-school’ event with pupils from Kirkpatrick Fleming and Springfield Primary Schools looking at stereotypes and how people can be victimised because of the prejudices of others. We were delighted that local Cllr Archie Dryburgh came along to show his support for our work and he revealed that the local Lowland League Football club Gretna FC 2008 would be proudly wearing the Nil by Mouth logo on their strips next season thanks to a sponsorship deal he had agreed with them.

In Glasgow the 13th June saw the finals of our ‘Pitch Perfect’ competition with the City of Glasgow College and some fantastic young people coming up with ideas on what the next campaign to tackle sectarian attitudes should be. Watch this space to see who the winner is and when their campaign launches. We also delivered workplace training to early years staff at Experiential Play in Springburn. A trip to Edinburgh saw a day at the Scottish Parliament for pupils from our wonderful Gourock High School ‘Sing Something Else’ programme and a meeting with the Minister for Community Safety and Stuart McMillan MSP,  who wanted to know more about how the programme had become such a success. The Minister also presented the pupils with their ‘Champions for Change’ awards.

Pupils from Inverclyde had their work honoured in the Scottish Parliament

The first national College Expo saw us visit QMU campus in East Lothian to present on our ‘Pitch Perfect’ college programme, highlighting how colleges can help students find their voice on equality issues whilst gaining qualifications and take a campaign from the drawing board to the airwaves. We also hit West Lothian to speak to hundreds of pupils at Broxburn Academy.

In North Lanarkshire we visited Mossend and Holy Family Primary Schools to congratulate them on winning a local authority award for the quality of their anti-sectarian work and delivered a workshop to pupils at St Joseph’s PS in Stepps. Across in South Lanarkshire our pals at Cairns and St Cadoc’s Primary school enjoyed a day at Hampden Park as a celebration of their year of anti-sectarian work. The trip was funded by the Ruby Trust who in June awarded Nil by Mouth £1,500 to support its schools programme. This support also helped us deliver workshops at Woodside Primary School in Hamilton. We also hosted the third annual ‘Kiss Bigotry Goodbye’ cup competition bringing together six high schools from across North and South Lanarkshire for a day of football and learning at Ravenscraig Sports Centre.

We visited both East and West Dunbartonshire  to spend a day with pupils at Bishopbriggs Academy in the east and an evening with Police Scotland Youth Volunteers in Clydebank in the West. Our message to the young people was that they have the power to change the world  To round off a busy month off we visited Angus where we delivered a series of workshops to pupils at the Arbroath and Dundee campuses of Dundee and Angus college.

Support from our funders including the Scottish Government and the Gannochy Trust mean all these services and visits are offered free of charge. From the Borders to Shetland, if you want to work with us, we can make it happen.

We are always looking for new partnerships and new ways to take our message to as many people as possible. If you’d like to work with us, regardless of where you are, please so just get in touch engagement@nilbymouth.org.