A suite of Good Relations themed video animations for use in local schools was launched in Newry High School on Wednesday 20 October 2021. Funding for this project was received from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s Good Relations Programme, which aims to encourage and support activity that promotes good relations between people from different backgrounds throughout the council area.
The suite contains seven animations which are themed around the key priorities of the Executive Office Together Building a United Community Strategy (T:BUC) and include, our shared space, our safe space, cultural expression and our children and young people. The animations focus on themes such as Racism, Sectarianism, Shared Spaces, Cyber Safety and Arranged Fights. The animation toolkit will be offered to each primary and post primary school in the district along with a digital activity pack.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason, who attended the launch said, “I am excited to launch the digital aspect of the Shared Schools programme which will be available to schools across the district. This tool kit will provide an additional asset for teachers to assist students engaging and connecting with Safety, Good Relations and Shared Spaces in their communities. I hope it will provide them with the building blocks for developing a safer and more inclusive community, one in which everyone can thrive.”
The COVID-19 restrictions and subsequent lockdowns experienced by schools resulted in the inability to bring schools together to deliver the Shared Schools Programme on Good Relations Topics. As a result, the suite of animations and digital activity pack was developed to ensure continued delivery of the programme. The activity pack challenges children to explore their history, culture, and heritage alongside others from differing community backgrounds and religions in a fun and interactive manner. The production of the online formatoffers the additional benefit of enabling accessibility for young people to engage from either their home or classroom.
Newry High School Shared Education Co-ordinator, Amanda Blakely said, “The Shared Education Schools Programme brings schools from different sectors of the community together to learn and share experiences in an open and safe space. This collaborative partnership approach provides an opportunity to enhance the learning of students taking part in the programme by enabling them to engage in a fun and interactive way, which in turn helps to foster mutual understanding and respect for all within the community. We hope that the launch of these animations will continue to build on this collaborate partnership.”