Young people from anti-sectarian community group, 4ward 2gether, recently spoke at East Ayrshire Council chambers about acceptance, inclusion and the importance of celebrating diversity.

Established in 2015, 4ward 2gether is a community-led voluntary project for young people that aims to tackle sectarianism and encourage community connections, friendships and a sense of self-worth and confidence in the young attendees

4ward 2gether members Eve Hamill, Ciara Bertoncini-Gilmour and Gabrielle Maberly, addressed Dave Scott from anti-sectarian organisation, Nil by Mouth, and Peter Johnson from Youth Scotland, speaking about the ethos of 4ward 2gether and how much it had transformed their self-esteem, confidence and ability to communicate with others.

4ward 2gether stamping out sectarianism in East Ayrshire. (Image- East Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership)4ward 2gether stamping out sectarianism in East Ayrshire. (Image- East Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership)

During the session, Eve, Ciara and Gabrielle delivered an anti-prejudice learning activity called ‘My Cousin’.

Each member was given a piece of paper and asked to write down the first five things that came to mind when thinking of different types of people, for example: black, Asian, homosexual and transgender people and people with a disability.

Eve, who is Chair of 4ward 2gether, then asked attendees to repeat the exercise, but asked them to describe her cousin, based on her own appearance.

4ward 2gether stamping out sectarianism in East Ayrshire. (Image- East Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership)4ward 2gether hoping to make a change. (Image- East Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership)

The exercise helped reveal the stereotypical views and assumptions we all have regarding certain groups of people, and that, while some are harmless, many can be offensive and divisive.

The afternoon was said to be a huge success, and the young people made a lasting impression on everyone who attended.

To find out more about 4ward 2gether, visit their website or connect with them on Facebook.