A hardworking team of young Borderers determined to take a stand against bullying have been officially recognised at Scotland’s ‘respectme’ awards.
This year saw the introduction of the awards to recognise anti-bullying projects and initiatives being carried out at a local level across Scotland, and a total of 23 projects were nominated.
The Scottish Borders Youth Commission on Bullying successfully made it on to the judges’ shortlist and were named one of the three winning projects at a ceremony in Edinburgh.
The group of 12 young people (aged 14 upwards) took on the voluntary role of Youth Commissioner to work with Scottish Borders Council and an advisory board to present recommendations on preventing and managing bullying behaviour and to help draw up a revised anti-bullying policy framework for the council’s department of education and lifelong learning.
Some had personal experience of bullying, either through friends or other young people they knew, and they wanted to ensure other young people in the Scottish Borders did not have to experience bullying.
One youth commissioner said: “The commission has meant a lot to me because it has given me loads more confidence and I feel like it has helped me deal with my own experience of bullying.”
Councillor Graham Garvie, children and young people’s champion, said: “We believe that the Youth Commission on Bullying was a first in Scotland for such important policy initiation and development, and certainly the first to have such high quality and strong youth involvement and leadership.”
The result of SBYCB’S work is the Respectful Relationships (Anti-Bullying) Policy which gives a clear understanding of bullying behaviour and respectful relationships, and targets all staff with a responsibility for health and wellbeing.
It provides a consistent approach emphasising early intervention, prevention and impact in the region’s nine secondary schools, 63 primary schools, and 30+ youth work learning settings.
Staff across the authority are currently undertaking introductory training on the policy and pupils are developing pupil-led charters for respectful learning environments.
Information about the youth commission is available from www.respectme.org.uk