April 2 2019

Pupils from Mossend and Holy Family arrive for their day out together at the national stadium

The efforts of two North Lanarkshire primary schools to use sport to build bridges between communities have been recognised at Hampden Park.

Pupils from Mossend and Holy Family primary schools teamed up with anti-sectarian campaigners, Nil by Mouth, at events at the National Stadium to celebrate their achievements as part of the charity’s ‘Champions for Change’ education programme.

Partly funded by the Sense over Sectarianism partnership which brings together football clubs and faith communities to tackle bigotry, over 100 pupils from the two schools visited the Scottish Football Museum to find out more about the history and evolution of the game. They also had the chance to step out onto the Hampden turf and sit in the national team’s dressing room as part of a special behind the scenes tour. The trip is the latest recognition of the quality of worked produced by the partnership. In 2018 the schools were awarded a special award from North Lanarkshire Council recognising the quality of their work

‘Champions for Change’ is Nil by Mouth’s nationwide schools programme which seeks to promote positive relationships between children from different religious and cultural traditions through a range of educational, sporting and cultural activities. Since it was launched in 2011, more than 30,000 pupils from more than 140 schools right across Scotland have taken part.

Pupils were allowed to follow in their heroes footsteps by stepping onto the Hampden turf.

The Mossend and Holy Family primary schools are a shining example of the positive impact the programme has had. Since 2014 more than 500 pupils from both schools have taken part in the programme which has seen a range of initiatives including workshops, joint visits to museums, sports days, recording films and albums exploring sectarianism and celebrating community. They have even teamed up for a Burns Night Ceilidh. In addition to nominating them for the North Lanarkshire Council award, Nil By Mouth have also highlighted the schools work to the Scottish Government as an example of best practice in using education to tackle prejudice.

Nil by Mouth Director Dave Scott said:
‘It’s always a pleasure to work with pupils and staff at these two wonderful schools. This is a partnership that goes from strength to strength and we are delighted to help provide the funding to make this trip happen.’