Winners of anti-bullying creative competition demonstrate ‘Change Starts With Us’


The Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) hosted a special awards ceremony at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre recently (27 Feb) to announce the winners of its annual creative competition.

The event was a celebration of local young people’s inspirational creativity and vision for a world where ‘Change Starts With Us’, the recent Anti-Bullying Week theme.

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

Children and young people from schools and youth organisations across Northern Ireland were encouraged to enter work in one of two categories: art or creative writing. Four age categories: up to Year 4, Year 5 – 7, Year 8 – 10, Year 11 and over, helped to ensure a broad range of participation.

Discussing the competition, Gill Hassard, Senior Participation Officer at NCB, host of Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF), said:

“The recent 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 and youth organisations and encourage young people to consider how they can be a part of positive change. We are thrilled that so many took the opportunity to submit entries and share their creativity.  I would like to congratulate all of the winners.  The standard and quality of entries was phenomenal and there were so many examples of how change starts here, change starts now, change starts with us.”

Gill added: “It’s clear that bullying has a massive impact on the individual being bullied, so it is important that we constantly challenge ourselves and wider society on this issue.”

Education Minister Peter Weir said: “Change Starts With Us’ is a powerful message to send to all our children and young people. I commend all the entrants for their imaginative and creative approach to this competition and send my congratulations to all the winners.

“Bullying of any kind is not acceptable. No-one should try and face the problem alone.  I encourage everyone to share problems with friends and trusted adults.  Our schools will also have people ready to help.

“We must also remain acutely aware of the dangers of Cyber-bullying. Our children and young people can be particularly vulnerable and we must do all we can to protect them when online. It is vital that the proper support mechanisms are in place to support young people and ensure that it is dealt with effectively.

“My Department has provided a clear lead through the ‘Addressing Bullying In Schools Act (NI) 2016’, which has strengthened schools’ ability to recognise and respond to bullying and will ensure greater consistency, so that all our pupils can enjoy the same high levels of protection.”

Translink has actively supported Anti-Bullying Week for the last 11 years delivering key messages around the theme of respect in stations, on buses and on trains, as Translink’s Astrid McElwaine, explained:

“This year’s Creative Arts Competition demonstrates how school children understand the issues around bullying, and that they are part of the solution to make positive changes for a more welcoming, tolerant and inclusive society. Well done to all of this year’s fantastic winners!

“Everyday thousands of people use our bus and train services with a record 84.5million passenger journeys made last year. Translink transports 55,000 school children each day and 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.”

Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) also supports the initiative. Teresa McAllister, Professional Officer, SBNI added:

“We are delighted to support this initiative annually and were amazed this year at the quality of creative pieces submitted by the children and young people and clearly supported by their teachers and schools.”

The winners of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week creative arts competition are:

Creative Writing:

Primary Y1-Y4 (Creative Writing)

  • Winner: Elissa-Rose Wilson, Hart Memorial Primary School, Portadown
  • Runner-up: Elijah Dawson, Hart Memorial School, Portadown
  • Runner-up: Isabel Guida, Irvinestown Primary School, Enniskillen

Primary Y5 – Y7 (Creative Writing)

  • Winner: Callum Cunningham, Holy Trinity Primary School, Enniskillen.
  • Runner-up: Cameron Watson, Irvinestown Primary School, Enniskillen
  • Runner-up: Orlaith McCory, St Anne’s Primary School, Finaghy, South Belfast.

Post Primary Y8-Y10 (Creative Writing)

  • Winner: Emilie Orsi, Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch
  • Runner-up: Eva Sloan, Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch
  • Runner-up: Clodagh Johnston, Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch

Post Primary Y11-Y14 (Creative Writing)

  • Winner: Molly Higgins, Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch
  • Runner-up: Jack Gallagher, St Joseph’s Boys School, Derry
  • Runner-up: Codey Bishop, Jack Dee Armstrong, Pheobe Gillen Naomi Watson, Zofia Jezewska, Georgia Allen Rebecca Taggart, Ethan Spooner from VOYPIC (Voice Of Young People In Care)

Special Educational Needs:

  • Winner: Caidon Canning from Lough Road Learning Centre, Lurgan
  • Runner up: Leah Jacks, Sophie Shannon, Aaron Walmsley and Ryan Higgins from Willowbridge School, Enniskillen
  • Runner Up: Tyler McAree McConaghy, Lough Road Learning Centre, Lurgan

Art Category

Primary Y1-Y4 (Art Category)

  • Winner: Sophia Greoghan, St Teresa’s Primary School, Lurgan
  • Runner up: Yasmin Brooke and Brooke Gleeson-Smyth, Gaelscoil Léim an Mhadaidh, Limavady
  • Runner Up: Ruben Crossman, Black Mountain Primary School, West Belfast

Primary Y5 – Y7 (Art Category)

  • Winner: Eva Hands, Hart Memorial Primary School, Portadown
  • Runner up: Hannah Murray, St Brigid’s Primary School, Derry
  • Runner Up: Hannah Willis, St Francis Primary School, Lurgan

Primary Y8 – P10 (Art Category)

  • Winner: Jesse Black, Oran Radcliffe, Jayden Nixon and Lewis Henry, St Joseph’s Boys School, Derry
  • Runner up: Eabha Delegy, St Louis Grammar School, Ballymena.
  • Runner Up: Charlie Anderson, Jessica Boal, Maddy Cairns and Faustas Gec, New-Bridge Integrated College, Loughbrickland
  • Runner Up: Sian Lusby Johnston, Thornhill College, Derry
  • Runner-up: Elisha Brady, The High School, Ballynahinch


Post Primary Y11-Y14 (Creative Writing)

  • Winner: Faolan Toale, St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook, Newry
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