A scheme which has seen young people learn about different cultures in an effort to tackle hate crime has celebrated a successful first term.
Year 6 pupils have learnt Chinese calligraphy, Bollywood dancing and African singing and drumming as part of the Tending Junior Warden Project, in its fifth year. They also met with 16-year-old Syrian refugee Zak, who now lives in Colchester, who told of his experiences of hate crime.
A celebration event, at Princes Theatre, Clacton, gave the 218 children – from Alresford, Frinton, Rolph, St Andrew’s and St Clare’s Primary Schools and Great Clacton Junior School – an opportunity to show their parents what they had been learning.
Pupils from Alresford Primary School gave a demonstration of African drumming, while all wardens performed a song, directed with Efua Sey, and showed off their Bollywood dancing with Indi Sandhu.
One pupil from St Clare’s Catholic Primary School, in Clacton, said: “It has made us think more about people and what they are going through.”
The initiative was funded by £10,000 from the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Community Safety Development Fund and organised by Tendring District Council.
The event coincided with a national report about how police forces deal with hate crime released last week by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.
Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “I’m delighted that we can fund excellent projects like this through our Community Safety Development Fund to help educate young people around issues like hate crime. My office also commissions an Essex Hate Crime Co-ordinator via Victim Support as well as initiatives such as StopHate UK and Show Racism the Red Card. The Police and Crime Plan is committed to responding to the threat of hate crime and the impact it has on our communities.”
Insp Darren Deex, of Essex Police, said: “This project is nothing short of remarkable.
“Essex Police works hard to prevent and detect hate crime and support those people who become victims of this type of crime.
“Education is absolutely the key to prevention which is why we wholeheartedly support this project and have been delighted to see the way our local children have embraced learning about other cultures.”
The audience also heard from Neil Monk, of Victim Support, who has worked with the wardens to teach them about hate crime.
He said: “By talking about these issues, we can make sure young people are confident enough to challenge and do something about it when they witness it or are victims themselves. It’s an important part of being a Junior Warden.
“When these young people get older, they will have the ability to stop things like cyber bullying from happening.”
Six more schools have signed up to the scheme in the autumn.
Councillor Lynda McWilliams, Tendring District Council portfolio holder for health and education, said: “It has been a marvellous celebration event. The success achieved here today is amazing.
“This is a Tendring District Council project, but none of it would have been possible without our partners. Partners working together is very important to all of us who live, work and play in Tendring. This is a true example of how partners working together can provide a very good outcome for all involved.”
Councillor Mark Platt, chairman of Tendring District Council, presented the wardens with certificates.
A film showcasing the event is available on YouTube https://youtu.be/-3dWxE8GPk4
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