Call for NI students to get creative to wipe out bullying

The NI Anti-Bullying Forum’s (NIABF) annual Creative Arts Competition celebrates a new ‘United’ theme – deadline for entry 16 December 2020

NI Anti-Bullying Week’s Creative Arts Competition 2020 is calling on young talented artists here to put pen to paper, paints to pads or get editing visuals to enter this year’s event.

The theme, United Against Bullying, will see hundreds of children around NI get in touch with their creative side to produce a visual or written message that celebrates how community and togetherness breeds a better society and has the power to combat bullying.

The closing date for entries is Wednesday 16 December 2020 at 4pm.

The competition follows on from Northern Ireland’s hugely successful Anti-Bullying Week, which ran from November 16-20, and saw children and young people across Northern Ireland take part in a bid to highlight how bullying impacts the lives of those affected.

Anti-Bullying Week is coordinated by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) and supported by Translink and Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI).  NIABF is an interagency group hosted by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and funded by the Department of Education.

The NIABF member organisations are moving on to the next stage of their annual activities to ensure the message, United Against Bullying’ makes a lasting impression.#

They are seeking children and young people up to the age of 25 to take part in the Creative Arts Competition.

Entries can be in written, visual art or video format and should be submitted using one of three titles; United Against Bullying, We Are All a Piece of the Puzzle and or Take a Minute to Unite Against Bullying.

Speaking about the competition, Deirdre McAliskey, Assistant Director at the National Children’s Bureau, hosts of the NIABF and organisers of Anti-Bullying Week, said: “This year, more than ever, we’ve witnessed the positive power that society can have when we come together to tackle a common challenge.

“Bullying has a long-lasting effect on those who experience and witness it. But by channelling our collective power, through shared efforts and shared ambitions, we can reduce bullying together. From parents and carers, to teachers and politicians, to children and young people, we all have a part to play in coming together to make a difference.

“Our annual Creative Arts Competition allows our United Against Bullying message this year to be translated using creativity. It’s another way to encourage children and young people to think about the impact bullying has on society.”

Gillian Cuthbert, Chair, Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF), added: “United Against Bullying is a very apt theme for this year’s event and despite everything that’s going on around us, we feel it is more important than ever to be consistent with our efforts to erase bullying.

“Our arts competition is another step in our drive to engage directly with children and young people and support them to recognise and take a stand against bullying behaviours and we look forward to seeing the creative pieces the children here put together.”

Translink has actively supported Anti-Bullying Week for the last 12 years and has once again supported 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, explains:

“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 through being United Against Bullying.

“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 especially at this time when safety is so important.

”Please remember when using Translink services to follow four simple but important steps: wear a face-covering, wash/sanitise your hands frequently, use touch-free ticket options and practice social distancing where possible.”

Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI), which has a long association with NIABF and supported its activities over many years, has come on board this year as one of the sponsors of Anti-Bullying Week. Helen McKenzie, Director, SBNI, discusses:

“SBNI are delighted once again in 2020 to support the Northern Ireland Anti Bullying Forum in their quest to raise awareness of bullying and reduce the incidence of it. We’ve joined as official sponsors to help ensure that children and young people know they should enjoy both physical and emotional safety whether at home, at play or in education or training.  We look forward to engaging creatively with children and young people in this year’s theme of ‘United Against Bullying’.”

Competition entry forms can be downloaded via http://www.endbullying.org.uk/anti-bullying-week/competition/ and sent with competition entries to info@niabf.org.uk using the subject line Competition ABW20.

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