Glasgow & West Scotland

Larkhall wins Nil By Mouth award to tackle sectarianism

A South Lanarkshire town has won an award for its efforts to tackle sectarianism.

Larkhall has become the first area in Scotland to be given the Champion for Change charter mark by Nil By Mouth for its efforts to tackle tensions.

The anti-sectarianism charity said the award recognised "several years of hard work" to unite people from different religious and cultural backgrounds.

The charter mark will be presented to the community on Thursday.

Creative projects

Nil By Mouth said local schools, community groups and church leaders had worked together in Larkhall to promote a range of interfaith services, sporting competitions and creative projects to encourage tolerance and understanding.

The award was clinched after a recent concert in St Machan's Church where pupils performed songs from their CD "Different Voices Best Of Friends", which conveys their views on bigotry and their hopes for the future.

Nil By Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said Larkhall was "more than deserving" of the award.

"We've been hugely impressed by the energy, enthusiasm and commitment shown by this community in challenging sectarianism," he said.

"For too long people have made assumptions about this area and these pupils, teachers and church leaders have stood up and been counted.

"The young people want a chance to define their own identity free from negativity or the baggage of the past. They represent the generation which will defeat sectarianism once and for all."

Hazel Shaw, from the Machan Trust, the interfaith group which has helped organise events, said: "The children hope that the message of their music will make a positive and significant difference to their communities and to the lives of all who suffer from the negative effects of sectarianism."

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