The work of two Stirling schools to challenge sectarianism has been recognised with a Nil by Mouth ‘Champions for Change’ award.
Pupils from St Mary’s and Cowie Primaries scooped the prize after participating in an eight-month partnership featuring a range of artistic, sporting and cultural exchanges between the schools. Working together with the charity and supported by funding from CCG Construction as part of its community building work on new affordable housing in Cowie’s Bannockburn Road pupils have explored difference, discrimination and sectarianism whilst also learning more about the history of the village.
The project kicked off in November with P7 pupils taking part in Nil by Mouth workshops as well as exploring the theme of conflict in the run up to Remembrance Sunday, followed by art workshops in January focused on what ‘home’ meant to them led by Anna York, the illustrator of the popular ‘Neeps & Tatties’ Scots language storybook. A special celebration of Burns Night complete with a Ceilidh and a visit by Edinburgh Inter Faith Association allowing children to meet and ask questions of people from a range of beliefs rounded off the project.
To reward pupils for their hard work, Nil By Mouth recently paid the schools a visit to present them with their award seeing them join a select band of schools to have been recognised for the quality of their work to tackle sectarianism. Launched in 2011 The ‘Champions for Change’ programme has helped build connections and friendships between pupils across denominational and non-denominational schools and increase understanding of the different faiths, cultures and traditions which exist in Scotland. During
Nil By Mouth Education Officer Jamie Lithgow Said:
‘Our ‘Champions for Change’ Award was created to celebrate communities that go the extra mile to build relationships between denomitonal and non-denominational schools and we have enjoyed every minute of the Cowie project. We’ve seen new friendships forged and existing ones strengthen and we are confident these will grow and continue into high school in August. As the first schools in Stirling to receive this award, they are a shining example within their local authority of just how working together can benefit everyone. We are grateful to all the children, teachers and parents who have contributed to make this such a successful programme and a special thanks should be given to CCG for providing the support to help us support the community of Cowie. Amid the noise and anger that often seems to be engulfing our society it’s heartening to see such strong interest in a project which encourages sharing and listening, seeking to build new bridges over old walls.’