Schools urged to support the battle against bigotry
MSP and national charity join forces
A call has gone out to schools in Rutherglen and Cambuslang to stand up and be counted in the battle against sectarianism.
Prolific anti-sectarian charity, Nil by Mouth, says pupils and teachers in the Rutherglen and Cambuslang area are among the most active anti-bigotry campaigners in Scotland.
They are appealing to schools, colleges and community projects to make an application to a small grants fund to help them run anti-sectarian initiatives in the area.
As part of its work, schools, colleges and community groups are being encouraged to apply for up to £10,000 in small grants from the Sense Over Sectarianism partnership to fund projects aimed at building bridges between young people from different religious and cultural backgrounds.
James Kelly MSP has written to every school in the area, inviting them to apply and offering to support their work.
Nil by Mouth was founded by Glasgow teenager Cara Henderson after the brutal sectarian murder of her friend Mark Scott in 1995. Since then it has campaigned tirelessly against sectarianism both on, and off, the terraces. As part of its campaigning Nil by Mouth helped set up Sense over Sectarianism (SoS) in 2001 and now sits on its partnership board along with representatives from football clubs and faith communities.
Calling for local schools to sign up to the campaign, MSP James said: “We are all keen to tackle the scourge of sectarianism in Scotland, and focusing efforts on education work is paramount to this.
“Several local schools have already been working with Nil By Mouth and I’ve seen first- hand the excellent results of that partnership, with the majority of the leadership and awareness coming from the pupils themselves. Over the last few years SoS has distributed hundreds of thousands of pounds to projects and through these we have seen real and lasting change take place. I am encouraging local groups to apply for up to £10,000 through the scheme.
“SoS also has a special small grant fund which allows groups to complete a simple form and apply for up to £750 allowing schools to purchase educational resources or projects to organise special one off events aimed at promoting tolerance.”
Nil By Mouth campaign director Dave Scott added: “Everyone has a part to play in ridding Scotland of bigotry and through the ‘Sense over Sectarianism’ grant fund we can support grass roots work aimed at bringing people together and helping them better understand difference. We hope schools from Rutherglen and Cambuslang consider applying for support from the partnership and help play their part in banishing bigotry once and for all.”
The Champions for Change initiative, which recognises best practice in challenging sectarianism and getting schools working together, was launched at Stonelaw High School in 2012.
Trinity High School, Loch Primary and St Anthony’s Primary have each won awards under the scheme.
Trinity was applauded for setting up a pupil- led task force to raise awareness of bigotry. It also held workshops and examined the role played by individuals, schools, religious leaders, politicians and the media in tackling the issue.
Shake on it Dave Scott of Nil by Mouth with James Kelly MSP