January 17 2022

The Shoes Brothers launching the book at Fullarton Connextions

Nil by Mouth have visited Burns country to help promote our ‘Neeps and Tatties’ project in the run up to the national celebration of the bard next week.

The charity visited Fullarton Connexions in Irvine to meet Rev Neil Urquhart and Fr Willie Boyd as they helped promote the project which will see hundreds of copies of the Scots storybook made available for free to schools across Scotland in the run up to Burns Night

Created by author Carey Morning and illustrator Anna York, ‘Neeps and Tatties’ tells the story of two warring vegetable tribes who are finally encouraged to put the past behind them in the interests of a better future. The book examines issues such as discrimination and prejudice, highlighting how old grievance can be overcome by a new generation. It was shortlisted for ‘Bairns Book of The Year’ at last year’s Scots Language Awards and the charity are making copies of the book freely available to schools across the country in the lead up to Burn Night

Neil and Willie, better known as the ‘Shoes Brothers’, have built up a cult following with their online videos in recent years. Tens of thousands of people have tuned in to their antics as they take a humorous, yet often profound, look at social issues such as climate change, tackling discrimination, loneliness and bringing people from different walks of life together. In 2017 Nil by Mouth presented them with a ‘Champions for Change’ award for their community work.

Their support for the project has already encouraged St Marks, Glebe, Lawthorn, Annick, Castlepark, Woodlands primaries in Irvine to sign up for copies and the charity hopes that every school in Ayrshire will claim their free copy.

Acclaimed Scots singer Iona Fyfe also visited Fullarton Connexions to meet Neil and Willie and record a special version of the story in the venue’s auditorium which is now available on YouTube. Last month she was named MG ALBA Musician of the Year and was able to convince music giant Spotify to officially recognise Scots as language on its platforms.

Iona Fyfe prior to her recording

Nil by Mouth Director Dave Scott said:

‘It’s always a pleasure to spend time with Willie and Neil and over the years they have taught us so much about building bridges higher than walls. So much of our work challenging bigotry deals with how language and words can be used to hurt or belittle others. That’s why its brilliant to be able to celebrate language and the different ways we have to express ourselves and we are delighted that the ‘Shoes Brothers’ have put on their shades once more to support us.

The stories we tell our children help shape how they see the world and make sense of the differences that exist around them. Since its launch ‘Neeps and Tatties’ has been used in more than 300 schools across Scotland and we are determined to make sure that we can reach even more between now and Burns Night. We also supply free resources for use in class which encourages pupils to find out more about the Scots language as well as thinking about ways they can play their part in creating a more tolerant society.

We want as many people as possible to enjoy the book and that’s why we have made it available free of charge so teachers, parents and children can enjoy this magical story. If you would like copies for your school simply email us at mail@nilbymouth.org and we will get the book and resources over free of charge.’