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23 Aug 2017
A ground-breaking anti-bullying bus tour designed to encourage thousands of young people to be nicer online is due to arrive in the north of Scotland.
Transport company Stagecoach has teamed up with The Diana Award charity to launch the UK’s first and only #BeNiceBus. The Diana Award runs the leading Anti-Bullying Campaign in the UK and Ireland giving young people the skills, confidence and training to tackle all forms of bullying as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.
The bus, which has been donated by Perth-based bus and rail operator Stagecoach, has embarked on a 12-month educational tour of schools across England, Scotland and Wales where it will reach thousands of school pupils as part of The Diana Award’s Anti- Bullying campaign.
This week it will deliver its ‘be nice online’ message to pupils at Oldmachar Academy and Mearns Academy in Aberdeen as well as Inverness Royal Academy in Inverness.
During the innovative project, young people are being invited on board the refurbished bus to take part in an interactive session to encourage positive online behaviour and to warn of the consequences of cyber bullying. They will also be given advice on the steps to take if they are experiencing online bullying. Following each session, pupils will also be invited to sign a ‘Be Nice’ pledge, marking their commitment to behave online in a way that will not cause offence or upset to others.
The Diana Award was set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better. It is committed to fostering, inspiring and developing positive change in the lives of young people through practical social action.
Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award said:
“At The Diana Award we know how powerful young people can be in tackling bullying behaviours both on and offline. We’re delighted to have the support of Stagecoach and to have launched this first anti-bullying #BeNiceBus during this 20th anniversary year as we remember Princess Diana’s values of kindness and compassion. We are driving our message directly into schools, a place where young people spend 11,000 hours of their lives. We’re delighted that in partnership with Stagecoach we will have a real opportunity to change and shape thousands of attitudes and behavior to bullying.”
The project is being funded by Stagecoach and has involved the interior refurbishment of a single deck bus to include a number of educational resources to help deliver the sessions. Content will be delivered through video, presentations and interactive sessions.
Stagecoach North Scotland Managing Director Mark Whitelocks said:
“Most young people live their lives online these days, whether that’s using the wi-fi on the bus to school or checking emails and social media when they get home. This means they are better connected than any previous generation, but unfortunately it can be another platform for bullying to take place.
“We’re delighted to be working with The Diana Award on this campaign and I really hope it helps make people think about their behaviour and take responsibility for their actions online.”
Scottish performer and TV presenter Michelle McManus, who is currently performing her show at the Edinburgh Festival, welcomed the bus to Scotland this week.
Michelle McManus said:
"This is such an important project and I’m delighted to be supporting it. Online bullying can have a devastating impact on those who are affected by it, and their families. It can also cause future problems for those who are actually carrying out the cyber trolling. We all have a responsibility to treat each other with respect and kindness and it’s great that this campaign is spreading that message and encouraging young people to understand the impact of their actions and to think carefully about how they are interacting with others online.”