Friday, 29 November 2013

Lancashire charter says no to bullying

All children and young people who live, go to school, work or socialise in Lancashire have the right to go about their daily lives without the fear of being bullied.

This is the clear Message behind Lancashire's anti-bullying charter.

The anti-bullying charter was drawn up by officers from Lancashire County Council's children and young people's service and representatives from the Lancashire Youth Council. It was officially launched at a conference in Chorley during anti-bullying week earlier this month.

The charter makes it clear that tackling bullying is not just an issue for schools, but also for parents and carers and all organisations working with children and young people, and the wider community.

Speaking at the conference, Matthew Tomlinson, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said:

"According to some recent research, one in every three children has experienced some form of bullying. It goes without saying that this is an extremely important issue for young people and one which we are determined to tackle.

"Anti-bullying week provided us with an opportunity to remind everyone in the community that we share a collective responsibility to stamp out bullying. This is an issue that many children and young people see as their biggest concern as they grow up.

"We have been working with a range of partners including teachers, young people, parents, the young people's council and representatives from Children and Young People’s Trusts to devise a poster that focuses on the rights and responsibilities of everyone within the community.

"The logos on the poster feature ‘ED’, a character named by members of the youth council’s equality and diversity group. The poster has been endorsed by the Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board. This is one element of an Anti-Bullying Charter."

The other side of this initiative is to invite Lancashire schools to sign-up to Lancashire's anti-bullying charter mark.

"We are inviting schools to support the charter by downloading copies of the poster," said Mr Tomlinson, "displaying it prominently throughout school and discussing the roles and responsibilities with children and young people."

Elizabeth Wilson, 18, one of the six members of the Lancashire Youth Council's Equality and Diversity Campaign who worked on the charter and the charter mark, said:

"The highlights of the conference were seeing Tor View Theatre Company perform their piece and also taking quite a lead in the disability worksh! op where we were able to share a lot of knowledge and experience. People really seemed to take in what we were saying.

"It was a great day and made even better because we'd helped plan it and we got to see how everything came together at the end. All the staff we met from the county council's children and young people's directorate were so supportive of us.

"And, as well as being part of an event that many adults from the county council have worked with us on, we've learned a lot while we've been here.

Elizabeth, from Lancaster, added: "We definitely learned a lot from the Founding Director of Kids Company, Camilla Batmangelidjh, who attended the conference. Camilla's charity works with some of the most vulnerable young people in London.

"Camilla spoke about how children and young people's brains work and grow, about what happens if you haven't had enough love or support. She talked about how adults can learn more about working with people in this situation who may not be easy to have in school sometimes, but now we know why."

• Schools wishing to apply for the Lancashire Anti-Bullying Charter Mark will find further details here

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