Strathclyde Sirens netball player Natalie Bright joined NSPCC Scotland in a visit to an East Renfrewshire primary school to teach children about their right to be protected from abuse.
The assembly was held at Mearns Primary School yesterday by the charity’s school service, with the help of the Sirens star ahead of their first home game of the season today.
NSPCC Scotland has been working in partnership with the Strathclyde Sirens, the nation’s only semi-professional women’s sports team, to help keep children safe from abuse since 2017.
The charity began delivering Speak Out Stay Safe assemblies in Scotland in 2012 and since then its staff and team of dedicated volunteers have spoken to hundreds of thousands of school children across the country.
The programme helps children in an age-appropriate way to understand what abuse is and to recognise the signs when it is happening. It also teaches them about their right to be protected and how to get help – including from the NSPCC’s Childline service.
NSPCC research shows that on average at least two children in every primary school classroom will have suffered some form of abuse or neglect.
Sirens’ Natalie, an Australian athlete who recently joined the team, gave a coaching session to some of the pupils after the assembly. She said: “As a Strathclyde Siren I’m proud to be able to use our platform to start the conversation and encourage children to speak out about issues affecting their lives.
“We are excited to work with NSPCC Scotland for a third year, supporting their Speak Out Stay Safe programme which provides young children with integral advice and support in relation to recognising abuse.
“It was great to work with the children at Mearns Primary School to teach them the importance of being courageous during difficult times.”
NSPCC Scotland Schools Area Co-ordinator Susan Brown added: “The NSPCC’s Speak Out Stay Safe programme visits around 900 primary schools every year across Scotland, speaking with over 150,000 children.
“We help young people develop an understanding of abuse in all its forms and of how to get help by empowering them to speak out.
“It was fantastic to work in partnership with Mearns Primary to deliver these vital messages to their pupils.
“And it was great to have Natalie Bright from the Strathclyde Sirens joining us today. The Sirens are wonderful ambassadors and are committed to sharing the important messages of speaking out and staying safe in sport and in life.”
Today fundraisers for the children’s charity will be collecting at the Sirens’ first home game of the year.
Mearns Primary Head Teacher Sharon Hunter said: “We were delighted to welcome the NSPCC to the school to deliver these extremely important messages to our young people.
“It is vital that all children and young people are aware of these issues and are equipped to deal with them, with the right support also provided at all times.
“The session provided our children with a fantastic opportunity to hear about this important work and it was an added bonus to have Sirens player Natalie Bright come along too. The children loved getting some netball tips from Natalie.”