Biggar pupils help kids to battle bigotry Biggar High Girls Lauren Service, Eilidh Stewart and Rowan Stewart presented by Anne Beveridge (Pic by Sarah Peters) Biggar High Girls Lauren Service, Eilidh Stewart and Rowan Stewart presented by Anne Beveridge (Pic by Sarah Peters)

A GROUP of campaigning pupils from Biggar High School have had their efforts to tackle sectarianism recognised.

Pupils from the school have been working with anti-sectarian charity Nil by Mouth on an education programme which has seen them plan and hold anti-sectarian workshops in primary schools across South Lanarkshire.

‘They have shown a real commitment to tackling sectarianism’

Charity bosses were so impressed with their efforts that they arranged for the pupils to participate in the nationwide Saltire Awards programme which formally recognises the commitment and contribution of young people volunteering.

The awards enable young volunteers to record the skills, experience and learning gained through successful volunteering placements provided by local and national voluntary agencies.

The awards are part of Nil by Mouth’s groundbreaking ‘Champions for Change’ schools programme which seeks to encourage pupils, staff and parents to use schools to tackle bigotry and build safer communities. The pupils were presented with Saltire Awards, signed by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, in recognition of the 150 hours of volunteering time they had given to the project.

Nil by Mouth Trustee Anne Beveridge said: ‘They have shown a real commitment to tackling sectarianism and we have been very impressed with the peer education programme they created to work in local primary schools.

“They have encouraged primary 7 pupils to see difference as a good thing rather than something to be feared. These sessions were well received and pupils have shown that working together people can create change.”

“I have fond memories of this school as I was involved with the running of an education project for Vietnamese refugees here in the early 1980s.

“The school played host to groups of secondary age pupils to help them become integrated into the community during their reception period at Carnwath.”

The refugees, known at the time as the “boat people”, stayed at the former Kersewell College until finding homes.

“These pupils have shown a similar commitment to ensuring people from all cultural and religious backgrounds feel welcome,” said Anne. “They have made others feel valued and fully involved in the community.”