Shopping perks for well behaved Ulster pupils
An innovative Belfast school scheme has rewarded 3,000 'model' pupils with shoppings discounts.
Belfast City Centre Management's "Be Rewarded" initiative, which offers discount at shops, fast food outlets and cinemas, has been hailed a success by teachers and children alike.
Introduced in January, 78 schools and colleges have now signed up to the incentive scheme for 11 to 18-year-olds.
Maddy McCavanagh, a lower sixth pupil at Victoria College, said she was delighted to become the 3,000th recipient of the Be Rewarded card.
"I think the scheme is a great idea - recognising the positive contribution young people make to society - and rewarding them," she said.
"It is great to see the scheme integrated into Victoria College - my friends and I are already planning our Saturday shopping trip."
A total of 77 retailers, from large multi-national stores to independents, are involved in the scheme, offering special discounts and incentives to the school age children.
Tom Smith, City Safe Officer with Belfast City Centre Management, said he was thrilled with the response to the scheme.
"We are only eleven months into the introduction to the scheme and the response to date has been fantastic," he said.
"Schools like Victoria College are contacting us weekly to sign up; such is the demand from pupils.
"By owning a Be Rewarded card, you are not only committing to good behaviour, but you are also actively contributing to the life of our city.
"The scheme recognises that young people need to be engaged with, and good behaviour recognised and rewarded.
"To achieve this, the cards will be removed from any young person who comes before the youth justice agency for offending behaviour. The scheme is also supported by the police."
Deirdre Turkington, assistant principal at Victoria College, described the initiative as an excellent idea.
"At Victoria College, we are delighted that so many of our girls have participated in the Be Rewarded Scheme," she said.
"The cards have arrived just in time for the girls to enjoy the discounts offered through the scheme as they do their Christmas shopping in Belfast.
"I am particularly pleased that one of our Sixth Form pupils, Maddy McCavanagh, who is an exemplary role model within the community, is the recipient of the 3000th Be Rewarded card."
For further information on the Be Rewarded scheme log on to www.berewardedcard.co.uk.