Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum sets creative challenge for schools and youth organisations

The Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) is challenging young people across Northern Ireland to share their creativity and vision for a world where ‘Change Starts With Us’ and enter their creative competition before the 20 December 2019 deadline.

The competition was launched as part of Anti-Bullying Week 2019 and is coordinated by 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.


Max Horner-McAuley (Year 4) and Susie Hassard (Year 5) from Orangefield Primary School, Belfast.

Gill Hassard, Senior Participation Worker at NCB, hosts of Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum and John Thompson, Health and Safety Manager, Translink (Anti-Bullying Week sponsor); with (Middle Row) Emily Hassard (Year 1); Brody Bennett (Year 1); Annie Cully (Year 2); Susie Hassard (Year 5); Max Horner-McAuley (Year 4); and (Front Row) Isaac Marshall (Year 7) and Anais Corbett (Year 6) from Orangefield Primary School, Belfast.

Discussing the anti-bullying creative competition and how it provides a channel for provoking discussion, Gill Hassard, Senior Participation Officer at NCB, host of Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF), says:

“This year’s Anti-Bullying Week had the theme of ‘Change Starts With Us‘. 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. Together, we can end bullying.  Our creative competition is designed to support schools, groups to and young people in considering how they can be a part of positive change.

“Your entry to the competition must focus on the ‘Change Starts With Us’ theme and we ask that you submit your own original work, not be copied from any other source. The entries should reflect the challenges as well as the positive messages of anti-bullying work – change starts here, change starts now, change starts with us.”

Gill adds: “There are two creative competition categories; art and creative writing.  In the written word category you can choose to write an essay on how does my school promote the ABW19 theme of ‘Change Starts With Us’ or you can write a short story or poem.  The art category encapsulates all visual art, drawings, paintings, posters, sculptures, models, photographs and textiles.  All entries must be original and unique and work should not incorporate characters that you haven’t created.”

There are four age categories for the competition, based on the school year group of the child/young person during ABW19: up to Year 4, Year 5 – 7, Year 8 – 10, Year 11 and over.

Translink has actively supported Anti-Bullying Week for the last 11 years and is 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. The art competition gives the young people a way to creatively demonstrate their understanding of the theme and we would encourage everyone to submit their entries now.

“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.”

To find out more about the anti-bullying creative competition check out

Creative competition entries must be submitted through a school, college, youth group or other organisation and a completed entry form must be attached to each competition entry, the form can be downloaded from – ABW19 – ART Competition Entry FormABW19 – WRITING Competition Entry Form.

Entries to the ‘Creative Writing’ category can be either posted or submitted via email to and where possible, art entries should be posted or delivered to Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum, The NICVA Building, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast, BT15 2GB.

Shortlisted entries will be judged by a panel, including members from NIABF and Translink. Winners will be invited to a celebration event on 27 February 2020.

Prizes will be awarded to outstanding entries across the categories. Children and young people with a special educational need can choose to have their entries considered for an additional ‘merit prize’.

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