Empower Young People This Anti-Bullying Week

Schools and youth organisations across Northern Ireland are being urged to empower young people by embracing the theme of Anti-Bullying Week 2019 - 'Change Starts With Us'.

Over the course of the week, which runs from 11 to 15 November, children and young people will be encouraged to take part in a range of activities, including a creative arts competition.

The initiative, coordinated by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF), is supported by Translink. NIABF is an interagency group hosted by the National Children's Bureau (NCB) and funded by the Department of Education.

Gill Hassard, Senior Participation Worker at NCB, discussed the type of activities that schools and youth groups can get involved in and why it's important to empower young people: "Anti-Bullying Week provides an important way of highlighting the issue of bullying to schools and the wider community. Whether it is verbal, physical, online or in-person, bullying has a significant impact on a child's life well into adulthood. By making small, simple changes, we can break this cycle and create a safe environment for everyone, where everyone is heard.

"This year's theme 'Change Starts With Us' is about showing how we can all make changes to be part of the solution. Whether it is speaking to someone we trust when bullying happens or calling it out if we suspect it's happening to someone else, we can all work together for a solution."

Schools can download a free Anti-Bullying Week resource pack via online.

Students are also urged to showcase their creative talent and use art and creative writing to create anti-bullying messages for this year's creative competition. The deadline for registration and competition entries is Friday 20 December.
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Translink has actively supported Anti-Bullying Week for the last 11 years and will once again support this year's campaign by delivering key messages around the theme of respect in stations, on buses and on trains, as John Thompson, Translink Health and Safety Manager, explained: "This year's theme really highlights how everyone of us can take responsibility and make positive changes for a more welcoming, tolerant and inclusive society. 'Everyday thousands of people use our bus and train services with a record 84.5million passenger journeys made last year. And, as part of our Translink SPIRIT, we always putting safety first in everything we do. Our stations and services provide an excellent platform to deliver important anti-bullying messages and ensure people know support is out there if and when they need it.

"We'd like to thank everyone who supports Anti-Bullying Week helping it grow every year and we look forward to continuing to play our part in protecting the safety, health and wellbeing of young people, our employees and the wider public right across Northern Ireland."

Orangefield Primary School in East Belfast has already signed up to take part in the Anti-Bullying Week 2019 campaign. School Principal, Mrs Sarah McCullagh, discussed why it is such an important week for the school: "Bullying is a major problem faced by many children and young people. As a school we have a duty of care to not only protect our pupils from incidences of bullying but to educate them as to the part they play in the prevention of it. All members of the school community must work together to provide our children with a safe, secure, caring and happy environment in which they are able to develop a love of learning and enjoy playing their part in school and society."

To follow the lead of Orangefield Primary and find out more about activities and the creative competition click here or email info@niabf.org.uk.

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