THE deadline for Anti-Bullying Week 21’s Creative Arts’ competition is fast approaching, and schools are being urged to encourage children to get in touch with their crafty side.
The theme of this year’s event, which runs from November 15-19, is ‘One Kind Word’ which allows children to tap into their creative juices to illustrate positive messages as well as experiences of the challenges of bullying.
Art applications can include written and illustrated pieces as well as visual and video submissions. Deadline for entry is 4pm on Monday, November 1. All entries can be submitted via nationalchildrensbureau.typeform.com/to/koIMc9hF
Entries will be categorised into age groups with a SEN entry also open.
This year’s Anti-Bullying Week features a busier schedule than ever before and a brand new award for influential local school teachers and staff who have helped stamp out bullying.
The event, which is in its 16th year, will promote its ‘One Kind Word’ theme to help others to break the cycle of bullying.
Odd Socks Day will kick off the week on Monday November 15, with children encouraged to celebrate their uniqueness by donning mismatching socks. An Odd Socks Day Resource Pack will also be shared with schools.
And CBBC and CBeebies stars Andy and the Odd Socks have recorded a brilliant new song and video especially for Anti-Bullying Week 2021 called ‘One Kind Word’. They are currently working on an amazing video featuring students from last year’s winning schools. Local winners taking part include Donaghadee Primary School; Killowen Primary School, Lisburn; and St John’s Primary School, Derry.
Anti-Bullying Week is coordinated by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) and supported by Translink. NIABF is an interagency group hosted by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and funded by the Department of Education.
Collectively the latter organisations have been creating awareness of bullying in a bid to encourage children to live harmoniously with others, celebrating individuality and stamping out bullying.
A host of events including the annual Creative Arts Competition and the new School Staff Award will allow children and their respective places of education to work in unison to celebrate the week.
The School Staff competition is open to both primary and secondary school teachers and staff. It allows pupils to nominate a school staff member they feel has a made a difference in the area of anti-bullying or ‘kindness’.
Speaking about this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, Aoife Nic Colaim, Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator, Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) said: “We are delighted to be launching our 16th Anti-Bullying Week in Northern Ireland and look forward to spreading kindness, not just throughout the week-long event but in the wake of it and for years to come.
“This year we’ve added a new award that will celebrate those working in the school environment who have really supported the anti-bullying movement. Our first ever School Staff Award will allow those who have worked harder than ever to ensure their students get the best pastoral care, to receive the recognition they so truly deserve.”
All nominees will receive a certificate and one winner from a primary school and one winner from a secondary school will be chosen by a panel of children and young people during this year’s Anti-Bullying Week. Each of the winners will enjoy an overnight stay with breakfast for two people at Europa Hotel in Belfast, courtesy of Hastings Hotels.
The closing deadline for nominees is Wednesday November 3 and nominations can be made at: nationalchildrensbureau.typeform.com/to/dyUb0HQ1
Charlene Brooks, chair Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum, said this year’s event promises a jam-packed schedule that will reinforce the theme, One Kind Word. She said:
“Our manifesto for this year is about the simple act of kindness, from small positive statements made from one child to another to acting kindly so that we can ignite a chain reaction that overpowers negativity and instils positivity.
“With our manifesto in mind, we’re asking children to ask if someone’s OK. Say you’re sorry. Just say hey.
“In a world that can sometimes feel like it’s filled with negativity, one kind word can provide a moment of hope. It can be a turning point. It can change someone’s perspective. It can change their day. It can change the course of a conversation and break the cycle of bullying.
“Best of all, one kind word leads to another. Kindness fuels kindness. So, from the playground to Parliament, and from our phones to our homes, together, our actions can fire a chain reaction that powers positivity.
“It starts with one kind word. It starts today.”
Translink is a long standing supporter of Anti-Bullying Week and will once again partner with the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum to help deliver key messages around the theme of kindness. Commenting on the importance of this year’s campaign, John Thompson, Safety and Corporate Responsibility Manager, said:
“This year’s One Kind Word theme really highlights how we can all play a small part in making positive changes in our schools and communities through the simple action of kindness.
“As an integral part of communities across Northern Ireland and an organisation which plays an important role in school transport, we are committed to delivering a safe and welcoming service for everyone. 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.
“At Translink we passionately believe that as a public transport company we have a responsibility to improve the wellbeing for all in Northern Ireland and beyond 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 especially at this time when safety is so important.”
Moira Primary School Principal, Mr Colin Ford, whose 400 pupils and staff will take part in the event, added: “We are delighted to participate in this year’s Anti-Bullying Week as it facilitates us with further opportunities to instil in our children good principles and guide them in their formative years to share and respect the world we live in, no matter what our differences.
“We look forward to celebrating this year’s theme, One Kind Word, and being part of such an important event.”