Buxton primary school receives new friendship bench to mark Anti-Bullying Week

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One of the region’s biggest housebuilding companies has presented a Buxton primary school with a special gift intended to help pupils build good relationships with each other.

To mark national Anti-Bullying Week, November 14-18, Harpur Hill Primary School, on Trent Avenue received a ‘friendship bench’ from Barratt Homes, which is working nearby on the Heathfield Nook and High Peak Meadow developments.

Dubbed the ‘buddy bench’, the wooden seat is inscribed with an instruction for those using it: ‘We sit, we chat and ask each other questions. We leave as friends, with all good intentions.’

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Bethan Deveney, a year five teacher and anti-bullying lead at the school, said: “At Harpur Hill we take part in the Anti-Bullying week each year. It sends an important message to pupils that they should be allowed to be themselves, free from bullying and helps us celebrate our differences in a fun and positive way.“With the help of Barratt Homes, and their donation of a friendship bench, we have been able to introduce similar themes and ideas when children first join us in our school nursery.”

Pupils at Harpur Hill trying out the new addition to their playground.Pupils at Harpur Hill trying out the new addition to their playground.
Pupils at Harpur Hill trying out the new addition to their playground.

Anti-Bullying Week is now led by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, a coalition of organisations and individuals recently established by the NSPCC and the National Children's Bureau.

Its members have shared aim of creating safe environments for children to learn, play and flourish without judgement or scrutiny. The theme for this year was ‘reach out’ and one of its key messages is that a small conversation can make a big difference for any child who may be struggling.The week-long campaign first took place under a different umbrella in 2004, and in the years since organisers say they have reached millions of children and young people across England and begun to improve attitudes and behaviours towards mental health problems.

Rhys Nicholson, managing director at Barratt Homes Manchester, said: “Having a space to socialise with peers, create friendships and be open about mental health from a young age is extremely important.“We hope that by donating a friendship bench, children at Harpur Hill will be encouraged to talk openly to each other and staff about how they’re feeling.He added: “Anti-Bullying Week is an important initiative, and we relish the opportunity to reach out to schools and organisations within our community and support such a deserving cause.”

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