Belfast Telegraph

Pupils help council create ads to tackle anti-social behaviour

Staff REPORTER

cteditorial@thect.co.uk

MORE than 100 pupils at Movilla High School have been creating advertising campaigns to tackle anti-social behaviour in a new education programme from Ards Borough Council.

The Year 10 pupils at Movilla split into teams to develop their campaigns, which included a promotional leaflet on anti-social behaviour issues and a poster for 'bus back' advertising.

The winning team will see their ideas used for real in an advertising drive this Easter.

Students have been attending special lessons over the last four months to help them plan their marketing materials, but also to hear directly from agencies which are involved in tackling anti-social behaviour, as well as individuals from the local community who have been victims of poor behaviour and how it has impacted on their lives.

The group also had the opportunity to develop their team skills with a day's hiking in the Mournes.

"The programme was about making anti-social behaviour 'real', not talking about it as a theory, and this approach has helped to highlight that while most low-level activity may seem relatively harmless to kids of this age, it can have far-reaching consequences for members of the wider community, as well as the perpetrators themselves," said Stephen Addy, from Ards Borough Council's Anti- Social Behaviour Team.

"This age group is, of course, very vulnerable when it comes to becoming involved in anti-social behaviour and the response we had from the pupils was excellent. They showed great enthusiasm, were engaged, well-behaved and genuinely committed to making their community a better place to live.

"We're extremely pleased with the outcome and hope to be able to work with other schools in similar ways".

Principal of Movilla High School, Caroline Karayiannis, said: "The programme was an excellent opportunity for working with the Borough Council officers, and provided an effective means to make young people aware of the issues that can arise in communities.

"Our pupils thoroughly enjoyed the meaningful and relevant material and delivery, and particularly the sense of achievement and competition.

"We would highly recommend schools becoming involved to help young people learn about keeping themselves safe, and how to make considered choices in their lives".

As well as having their leaflet and poster used as part of an anti-social behaviour campaign, the winning team will join 16 other pupils who have performed particularly well during the programme, for an outward bound residential weekend at Ardnabanon in the Mourne Mountains.

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