December 19 2019

Pupils from St Helen’s Primary School show what they think of sectarian language

It has been another busy year for Nil By Mouth’s Champions for Change schools programme. Over the last 12 months we have worked with over 7,000 school pupils across 21 local authorities.

We started 2019 with the busiest January on record by working with 13 schools, including two partnership projects – where neighbouring schools join forces to participate jointly in workshops tackling sectarian stereotypes and language.

February and March continued this trend as we visited a record number of local authorities. Over the course of these two months we took our message of friendship and tolerance to no fewer than 13 council areas from Angus to South Lanarkshire.

March also played host to our Central Scotland Action Week. This sees the charity concentrate its efforts within one geographical area. On this occasion we worked with our friends at St. Modan’s High School in Stirling as well as paying visits to schools in Perth & Kinross and Falkirk.

Following the Easter break we embarked upon a partnership with Edinburgh Napier University to work with several Edinburgh City primary schools. We also paid our annual visit to the University of Strathclyde to engage with their PGDE teaching students.

Our friends at Clydeview Academy in Gourock were our first port of call after the summer holidays. They will once again be embarking upon a partnership with St Columba’s High School bringing messages of tolerance and change to Inverclyde.

We racked up the miles in September, delivering assembles and presentations from Fife to Kirkintilloch. We even managed to squeeze in another Action Week with schools in West Lothian.

Kevin receives his award from Nil By Mouth Education Officer Jamie Lithgow

October saw us renew acquaintances with several partnership schools. Glencairn and St. John’s Primary schools in Stevenston, Mossend and Holy Family Primary schools in North Lanarkshire and the Condorrat Together Project. This initiative comprised of hundreds of pupils from Baird Memorial,St. Helen’s and Condorrat Primary schools, culminated in November at their annual showcase event for parents. The partnership between the schools dates back several years with 2019 marking its fifth year working alongside Nil By Mouth. The example shown to other schools by the project earned this year P7’s a Champions for Change Award.

We ended 2019 as we started it, with another budding partnership between two primary schools. Golfhill and St. Andrew’s primary schools in Airdrie took part in a series of Nil By Mouth workshops at the start of December. Most notable were the efforts of one exceptional pupil. Kevin Hornal, from St Andrew’s Primary, raised £115 for the charity by running a 10K earlier this year alongside his mum. Kevin was inspired to raise funds for Nil by Mouth after choosing to learn about the work we do in class, prior to our visit to the school. For his efforts, Kevin was awarded the title of Champion for Change.

And so ends another busy year for our Champions for Change schools programme. We are already looking forward to an even busier 2020 but until then we wish you a merry Christmas and happy new year.