Say NO To Bullying
Published: 11 January 2021
As part of Northern Ireland’s ‘Anti-Bullying Week’, Belfast Met lecturer Gerry Skelton, with the help of 1st Year Health and Social Care Foundation Degree students, ran the annual ‘Say NO to Bullying’ event, this year as a webinar.
Reflecting on the event, Gerry commented, “As usual, the event was well supported, despite the ‘technical challenges’ and a varied range of speakers, including 4 of the student group, delivered impacting presentations, which highlighted the spectre of bullying. Other students produced posters and helped spread the message that bullying is wrong! This was all powerfully punctuated by the inclusion of a courageous personal contribution from a student speaker who had being bullied and how she dealt with this; providing inspiration to all. I am personally and professionally touched with how well the event went and the tremendous array of positive and encouraging feedback received.”
Belfast Met Director of Curriculum and Learner Success, Dr. Jonathan Heggarty MBE, who attended last year and this year’s events commented, “The 2020 Say No to Bullying event, co-ordinated by Gerry, was again a tremendous success and shone a spotlight on a vitally important issue for us all. Respect for others is a College core value and I was delighted to be involved again this year in the event which involved speakers from a wide range of organisations. I know that our learners, who were involved in the planning of the event, have gained much through it. I’d like to thank them and Gerry for all of their efforts and congratulations on what was a great day”.
Another regular supported of this work, Belfast Met Good Relations and Equality Officer, Mary Coffey added, “The students did a brilliant job pulling all this together under Gerry’s guidance. Their presentations were really good, both in content and delivery and their management of the Q&As was very professional. The personal reflections and the drama were particularly poignant. It was great to see all the external organisations supporting this event too, particularly at a senior level, and it being matched within the College. The focus on adult bullying in education establishments, the workplace and our lives, was excellent and something that needs highlighted much more. It’s fantastic to see this as a continuing initiative and, once again, congratulations and well done to everyone”.
Many of the students who participated in the event spoke about how the experience benefited them and the importance of the message, “We are extremely grateful Gerry gave us the opportunity to participate and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience from start to end. Throughout the planning stages Gerry encouraged each student to bring out the best in themselves and the trust he placed in each of us to develop, then help deliver the event was second to none. For several students, this was the first event they had ever attended or been involved with, and because of the opportunity they have been able to positively impact the community. By being involved we have also gained increased confidence, understanding of bullying / its impacts, helped improve research skills and been able to practice their public speaking. Looking back at the event, we are extremely proud of what was achieved. It will be something we remember for many years to come and we would encourage future first year classes to do the same thing. Thank you, Gerry”.