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Bridging The Gap

Bridging The Gap are starting new work in new areas! This month see BtG expanding the fantastic schools transition programme out to other areas of Glasgow and moving into North Lanarkshire. Four new secondary schools partnerships with St Margaret’s High Airdrie, Airdrie Academy, St Roch’s and Whitehill Secondary. Tackling issues, raising awareness around sectarianism , creating volunteer opportunities and developing leadership skills.

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Bridging The Gap

Bridging the Gap deliver anti sectarian workshops through a number of different channels – the schools transition programme (in Shawlands Academy & Holyrood Secondary, and 14 feeder primary schools), residential trips to Belfast with both secondary schools, and an Understanding Each Other programme with P6 pupils in Blackfriars and St Francis Primary schools.

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The focus of our primary to secondary transition programme has been sharpened to have an obvious theme of tackling sectarianism through specific issue based workshops led by staff, as well as trained adult and S5/6 volunteers.   Within the different sessions, the young people (P7s and S4s) are given the opportunity to explore the history of sectarianism, how it manifests itself in their lives or the communities they live in, and if it affects them at all.  They do this through an information session followed by an interactive game of snakes and ladders (with quiz questions based on what they’ve learned). Young people also take part in role play scenarios that get them to look at the consequences of particular behaviour and also encourages the group to decipher the scenarios and to look closely at what in fact is/isn’t actually sectarian behaviour.  As well as these sessions, they also decorate cupcakes depicting what sectarianism is to them, with a number of them coming up with very creative designs and descriptions.  These sessions are led by S5/S6s and the adult volunteer team and are developed to suit the different groups each of them were working with. 

Following on from the transition programme the young people from the secondary schools are able to go on a trip to the Corrymeela Community, Northern Ireland.  This residential gives the young people the opportunity to look at issues who have shaped who they are, such as, personal identity and culture. 

The discussions that they take part in gives them the space to express their opinions, in a safe space and on a range of sensitive topics such as race, religion and culture.  In our most recent trip, the group also got to take part in question and answer sessions with a group of young people from an interface area in Belfast.  By taking part in this, they were able to explore how sectarianism affects young people who are the same age as them. 

In our Understanding Each other programme, a group of S5 pupils (who btg3travelled to Belfast in S4) deliver small group talks to the P6 groups from St Francis Primary and Blackfriars Primary.  When in Belfast, the group filled out diaries about what they learn and in this programme they go through these with the P6s and show them what communities can be like when people don’t understand each other.  The S5 young people also devised and facilitated a short quiz following these discussions.  This is the first session in a group of 4, where the group go on to look at migration, asylum and difference.   There is also a session where 4 different types of migrants (asylum seeker, refugee, internal migrant & economic migrant) visit the classes and the P6 pupils are able to listen to their stories of why/how they ended up in Glasgow.

Our work brings young people together from different backgrounds of religion, geographical area and school. By working with young people across different learning communities and delivering the same programme with them we bridge a gap of understanding across the sectarian divide.  Through involvement in the programmes, we feel that young people will be more confident and therefore will be in a position, not only to challenge themselves in relation to sectarianism, but also their families, friends and communities. 

 

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