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Anti-sectarian charity keen to hear from other Caithness schools after Canisbay visit

By Alan Hendry

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Nil by Mouth director David Scott meeting pupils at Canisbay Primary School.
Nil by Mouth director David Scott meeting pupils at Canisbay Primary School.

The director of a Scottish anti-sectarian charity said it was “a joy” to visit Canisbay Primary School and speak to pupils as part of their studies into religion.

David Scott, of Glasgow-based Nil by Mouth, said the equalities organisation would be keen to hear from different schools in the county. He called on other charities to “break out of the central belt mindset” and make an effort to visit the Highlands.

The charity’s United Against Division programme runs in schools across the country, giving young people a greater understanding of different faiths and cultures as well as encouraging them to consider the impact of their language and actions on others.

Mr Scott said: “It was a joy to visit Canisbay, and I was struck by how engaged with the issue the children were and how much they appreciated an external visitor to the school.

“Our work is about helping children find their own answers and consider opinions different to their own.

“Faith remains an important part of life in Scotland and we need to equip young people with the knowledge around the different types of belief they will encounter in life.

“It needs to be said that groups like ours should be making the effort to visit rural schools in the Highlands if they express interest in our work. The children had so many questions that deserved answers and further discussion.

“This visit was offered free of charge, and at a time when school budgets are stretched like never before it’s important that charities break out of the central belt mindset and realise the world doesn’t stop at Perth – especially if they have a national remit and public funding.

“If other Caithness schools are interested in a visit I’d encourage them to get in touch with us via our website or social media channels. I had a brilliant visit north and hope to be invited back again.”

Earlier this year Canisbay pupils received copies of Nil by Mouth’s Neeps and Tatties teaching resource which uses the Scots language to explore prejudice and discrimination in the run-up to Burns Night.

Created by author Carey Morning and illustrator Anna York, Neeps and Tatties tells the story of two warring vegetable tribes who are finally encouraged to put the past behind them in the interests of a better future. The book examines issues such as discrimination and prejudice and includes classroom games and activities.

According to its website, Nil by Mouth “is concerned with the destructive social impact that sectarianism has upon our lives and upon our society”. It is not a religious organisation.

In seeking to challenge intolerance and prejudice, the charity provides awareness-raising workshops to schools, workplaces and other groups.

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