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Help break the cycle of bullying with ‘One Kind Word’

Anti-Bullying Week 21, which runs from November 15-19, is back with a bang.

It is featuring 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 have the running theme ‘One Kind Word,’ which aims to encourage children and young people from across Northern Ireland to speak kindly to 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 new song and video especially for Anti-Bullying Week 2021 called ‘One Kind Word’.

They are currently working on a 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 inter-agency 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 a 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.

n 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: “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.”

The deadline for entry into the Creative Arts Competition, which can be in written, visual art or video format, is October 25 and entries can be submitted via nationalchildrensbureau.typeform.com/to/koIMc9hF

n To download a free Anti-Bullying Week resource pack and find out more about the Anti-Bullying Creative Arts competition and the School Staff award check out www.endbullying.org.uk or email info@niabf.org.uk

#AntiBullyingWeek @niabf

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