THE popular Plymouth Respect Festival takes place this year on the weekend of October 11-12.
The festival is designed to promote respect and celebrate diversity across all areas of the community.
Organised by the Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council and supported by the Devon & Cornwall police and Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service.
In the run up to the event the Respect Festival team visit schools in Plymouth as part of the on-going ‘Step-up-4-respect’ project, created to foster the spirit of respect among the city's young people through art projects.
Recently the Respect Festival team visited Marlborough Primary School to work with Year 3, the youngest group they have worked with yet.
Dave Evans is on secondment from the Fire Service explains: “It’s about speaking to the children through an art project, while highlighting the fact that all people are different, and we need to treat each other with respect. Each school we visit, I introduce the campaign to the children and get the children’s feedback.
Karen Evans is the team’s professional artist said:” I love working with the children they are so enthusiastic. The art work we do is preparing the children for the parade so we’re busy making props and costumes. At the start of the session we talk about to the children about racism and respect so they are aware that the Festival has a really good purpose – as well as being fun.” Grahame Kirkup from Devon & Cornwall Police said: “This is an on-going partnership project that we are delivering into ten schools this year. Children create something from the background of difference to use in the parade. This year’s Respect theme is sailing, so this includes ships, fish, really anything to do with the sea.”
Marlborough Primary mission statement: - 'Our mission is to nurture children with active and creative minds, a sense of understanding and compassion for others, and encourage them to lead aspirational fulfilling lives developing the skills to become independent, self- sufficient adults who will succeed and contribute responsibly in a global community.'
Rachel O'Kane, Head Teacher said: “The work that the children from Year 3 are taking part in with the Respect Festival team encompasses our mission statement completely. The team are able to talk open and honestly with the children about 'respect of difference' in a fun, relaxed and creative way.
“Last year was the first time the school worked with Dave Evans and Graham Kirkup from the Equality and Diversity Team, when they worked with the Year 5 class. They have delivered several sessions including whole school assemblies and targeted workshops with specific groups of children, where an issue has been identified.
“This year the Y3 group, there had been incidents of racial abuse and other reports from the police of anti-social behaviour outside of school. As a school, we wanted to carry out support for this group over a sustained period of time in order to impact on behaviour in positive way.”