This week (16th-20th November) is Anti-Bullying Week, which recognises the need to harness the positive power that society can have when we come together to tackle a common challenge, and reduce bullying together as a society.

To recognise Anti-Bullying Week, Andrea, one of our mentors in London, has put together a piece explaining the challenges young people have faced during the first term of the academic year and the need for all of us to challenge bullying. 

The first school term of this Academic Year has probably been one of the most remarkable we’ve lived by far. We were all thrilled to get back to school and curious about the young people’s reaction after the summer and the lockdown.

After seven weeks of delivery I could easily say that getting back to school has been extremely beneficial, both for the pupils and for the RugbyWorks Mentors. We missed our weekly sessions and the energy that the young people always bring on the pitch.

During the first weeks of delivery our main focus was building new relationships with the students, getting them on board and moving the rugby ball around all together. Their mental and physical well-being have always been our first priority, considering the challenging situation we’ve all faced in the last months. It was also important to work again and develop soft skills such as Teamwork and Communication, considering the very few opportunities the young people have had to interact with each other in a school environment.

We all knew how important it was for the young people to get active again after months of restrictions and limited opportunities to interact with their friends. And that’s why I believe that the schools have done a remarkable job, embracing this challenge with energy and positive attitude. We’ve seen first hand how beneficial it has been for the students to get back to some sort of normality.

This week also sees the country recognise the importance of Anti-Bullying Week. We all know how important this topic is and how dangerous bullying can be, with long-lasting effects on the young people who experience and witness it.

As Mentors, our responsibility is to work alongside teachers and members of staff in order to prevent any dangerous situations and raise awareness around this delicate subject.

Talking about it can be difficult for young people who may have been bullied in the past but we must encourage them to gain the confidence they need to move on from any traumatic events. It’s hard to work again on self-confidence and self-esteem and that’s why it’s crucial for us to get everyone involved in what we do and make every young person feel that they’re part of our big team.

It is a challenging task but I’m confident to say that thanks to the schools we work with and their amazing job with the young people, it will get easier.

Together, we can stop bullying!