Over 4000 young people from across Northern Ireland have used their creative talents to reinforce this year’s Anti-Bullying Week message ‘Together we will make a difference – END BULLYING NOW!’. Winners of this year’s anti-bullying art and creative writing competition were announced today (Tuesday 18 November) at a special awards ceremony at Ulster Folk & Transport Museum.
The competition is a key part of Anti-Bullying Week (17 – 22 November) which is coordinated by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) and supported by Translink. NIABF is an interagency group funded by the Department of Education and hosted by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) NI.
Discussing the level of creativity, Dr Noel Purdy, Chair of NIABF, said:
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response to this year’s anti-bullying art and creative writing competition, which provides a channel for young people to tell a story or convey their views on how bullying should be tackled. The competition has attracted an unprecedented 4014 entries and I believe this reflects the desire that exists amongst children and young people to have their voice heard and to send out a very clear message ‘END BULLYING NOW’.
Dr Purdy continues: “There has been such a diverse range of art and creative writing submitted. All the pieces are important as they are individual and unique to the person that created them. Encouragingly, there is a very positive vibe going through a lot of the work. The young people have sought to focus on the fact that if everyone plays a part, then positive change is possible. I would like to thank everyone who has spent time on preparing an entry. Your work will be shared with a large number of other young people and I’m sure they will find it as inspiring as I have.”
Prizes were be presented by Education Minister, John O’Dowd.
Minister O’Dowd said: “Bullying is a problem that, sadly, occurs in every school all over the world. It can happen to anyone, can be profoundly damaging and can have a negative impact on the lives of children and young people right through into adulthood. Bullying, in any form, is always, quite simply, unacceptable. The theme of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, ‘Together We Will Make a Difference’ highlights that each one of us has an important role to play in addressing bullying any time we find it happening.
“Bullying is a complex issue with no single easy solution. This makes it essential that we work in partnership to systematically tackle bullying, creating a better school environment for every child.
“It is my belief that the many inspiring and imaginative entries to this competition, the momentum Anti-Bullying Week will generate and the dedicated work of the Anti Bullying Forum, can be driving forces in changing attitudes towards bullying in schools and the way bullying is addressed.”
Translink has been an active supporter of Anti-Bullying Week for the past number of years and helps to reinforce messages by placing anti-bullying poster displays at train and bus stations across Northern Ireland.
Translink’s Ursula Kelleher says: “It was great to see such a high number of entries into this year’s competition with the vast majority of them offering messages of hope and support to victims. The sheer volume of competition entries clearly highlights that young people across Northern Ireland willl not tolerate bullying.
“Translink is pleased to join forces with NIABF to tackle bullying and congratulates all the competition winners and runners-up for raising awareness on this serious issue,” said Ursula.
The winners and runners-up of this year’s competition are:
Winner: Mia Milligan, 8, Irvinestown Primary School, Enniskillen
Runner-up: Peter Maguire,8, Knockloughrim Primary School, Magherafelt
Runner-up: Cora McElduff, 8, & Mark McDermott, 8, St Teresa’s Primary School, Omagh
Runner-up: Naoise McGreevy, 8, Carrick Primary School, Burren, Warrenpoint, Newry
Winner: Aron Lestas, 12, Loreto College, Coleraine
Runner-up: Matthew Branagh, 14, Campbell College, Belfast
Runner-up: Thomas Donaghy, 11. St Mary’s Primary School, Strabane
Runner-up: Craig Thornton, 9, Spires Integrated Primary School, Magherafelt
Winner: Caoimhe Leneghan, 14, Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch
Special Merit Prizes – Art:
David McKeown, 11, St Brigid’s Primary School, Ballymoney
James McClurg, 19, Parkview School, Lisburn
Emma Dubei, 11, Friends’ School, Lisburn
Creative Writing Category
Winner: Alex Bradley, 8, Hollybush Primary School, Derry
Runner Up: Jessica-Elise McArdle, 7, Irvinestown Primary School, Enniskillen
Runner Up: Niamh Hamill, 8, St Brigid’s Primary School, Ballymena
Winner: Pippa Dougan, 14, Friends’ School, Lisburn
Runner-up: Adam Ramage, 10, Ballytober Primary School, Bushmills
Runner-up: Eva-Rose Nic Uilliam, 11, Colaiste Feirste, Belfast
Winner: Matthew Farrell, 14, Fivemiletown College
Runner-up: Niamh McNamara, 14, Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry
Runner-up: Conor Torboid, 15, Colaiste Feirste, Belfast
Special Merit Prizes – Creative Writing:
Abbie Fusco, SERC (South Eastern Regional College), 18, Lisburn
Brandon Magee, 10, Rossmar School, Limavady