Voluntary organisation Diversity Role Models has made
significant progress in eradicating homophobic bullying in schools,
but their good work may be at risk if they cannot find more
financial support and volunteers.
The workshops run by DRM allow role models (Heather Peace,
Coronation Street's Charlie Condou being just two of their
celebrity 'models') to go into schools and speak to pupils about
either their own LGBT experiences, or the experiences of someone
close to them. The workshops give a safe and open environment for
students to discuss LGBT issues or concerns.
The workshops have allowed students to raise issues not only about
their own sexuality, but fears that they may be at risk of bullying
if they are seen to support a homosexual friend.
The Assistant Head Teacher of Elm Green School said of the events;
"Meeting role models who explain their experiences and life stories
helped many of our students understand the bullying and
difficulties that many LGBT people face as they make the journey to
Although the workshops have only been running since November, the
positive effects have been seen already, with 94.5% of pupils who
have attended saying that they would now treat a gay person more
respectfully. The insight given by hearing the role models'
stories has played a large part, but the workshops also aim to get
the message across to students that sexuality does not restrict
life choices such as careers and family.
The Head of PSHE at Conyers School said; "It was fantastic for the
students to have the message in more of a 'real-life' context from
positive and very approachable role models. I was particularly
impressed at the discussions the presentation helped to facilitate,
especially amongst those students for whom the subject may have
been one which, in another context, they may have felt
uncomfortable in or may have been less mature about."
However, Suran Dickson, CEO of the London based organisation,
worries that the charity will not be able to continue its work if
more support is not received, which could lead to an increase in
homophobic bullying in schools.
"We are gaining a national reputation and have had a lot of
interest from schools as far afield as Scotland. It will be very
disappointing to have to turn them down," Dickson said.
"Bullying happens, but the results of our workshops show that they
do help. We take quite a candid approach, and although we try to
remain positive, we talk about suicide as a result of homophobic
bullying. A lot of students are shocked at the result of their
actions, but they need to understand the effects of
DRM are aiming to bring their workshops to a growing number of
schools in 2012, although this aim is largely dependent on both
financial support and the availability of volunteers.
"We know our programme will make a huge difference to the LGBT
students in these schools" said Dickson. "We are lucky enough to
have hundreds of role model applications - we now need financial
support to get these role models into schools to educate, create
empathy and therefore reduce bullying."
If you are interested in supporting Diversity Role Models, either
financially or by giving your time, contact Suran Dickson at
email@example.com or visit the Donations Page of the
Diversity Role Models website DRM.
In particular, DRM is looking for people who can spare around 10
hours a week to fill the following roles :
-Communications Administrator - to manage social media, draft
newsletters and copy, and research topical issues
-A Fundraising/Events Coordinator- to manage individual
fundraisers, help coordinate events and assist with trust fund
Although the positions are remotely based, ideally candidates
should be able to travel to London for meetings.
Contact Suran Dickson at the above email address for further