7 June 2017

Innovative anti-bullying bus tour promotes ‘be nice online’ message to thousands of UK school pupils

  • Transport company Stagecoach and The Diana Award team up to launch Britain’s first #BeNiceBus
  • UK educational bus tour part of Diana Award Kindness Campaign during this 20th anniversary year.
  • Thousands of school pupils invited to sign ‘Be Nice’ pledge following on-bus workshops
  • 10.15AM at Kingsdale School, Dulwich: TV presenter Ferne McCann, actor Layton Williams and comedy performer Juliette Burton help launch project in London

Today (7 June 2017) marks the launch of a ground-breaking anti-bullying bus tour designed to encourage thousands of young people to be nicer online. The launch forms part of The Diana Award’s Kindness Campaign launched in this 20th anniversary year as we remember Princess Diana’s qualities of kindness and compassion.

Transport company Stagecoach has teamed up with The Diana Award charity to launch the UK’s first and only #BeNiceBus. The Diana Award runs the leading Anti-Bullying Campaign in the UK and Ireland giving young people the skills, confidence and training to tackle all forms of bullying as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.

The #BeNiceBus tour will be launched on 7 June at Kingsdale Foundation School, Dulwich, by Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths and Chief Executive of the Diana Award, Tessy Ojo along with TV presenter Ferne McCann, actor Layton Williams and comedy performer Juliette Burton.

The bus, which has been donated by Perth-based bus and rail operator Stagecoach, will now embark on a 12-month educational tour of secondary schools across England, Scotland and Wales where it will reach thousands of school pupils as part of The Diana Award’s Anti- Bullying campaign.

During the innovative project, young people will be invited on board the refurbished bus to take part in an interactive session to encourage positive online behaviour and to warn of the consequences of cyber bullying. They will also be given advice on the steps to take if they are experiencing online bullying. Following each session, pupils will also be invited to sign a ‘Be Nice’ pledge, marking their commitment to behave online in a way that will not cause offence or upset to others.

The Diana Award was set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better. It is committed to fostering, inspiring and developing positive change in the lives of young people through practical social action.

Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award said:

At The Diana Award we know how powerful young people can be in tackling bullying behaviours both on and offline. We’re delighted to have the support of Stagecoach and to be launching this first anti-bullying #BeNiceBus during this 20th anniversary year as we remember Princess Diana’s values of kindness and compassion. We will be driving our message directly into schools, a place where young people spend 11,000 hours of their lives. We’re delighted that in partnership with Stagecoach we will have a real opportunity to change and shape thousands of attitudes and behavior to bullying.”

The project is being funded by Stagecoach and has involved the interior refurbishment of a single deck bus to include a number of educational resources to help deliver the sessions. Content will be delivered through video, presentations and interactive sessions.

Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said:

“Most young people live their lives online these days, whether that’s using the wi-fi on the bus to school or checking emails and social media when they get home. This means they are better connected than any previous generation, but unfortunately it can be another platform for bullying to take place.

“We’re delighted to be working with The Diana Award on this campaign and I really hope it helps make people think about their behaviour and take responsibility for their actions online.”

TV presenter Ferne McCann, who previously gained her bus driving qualification with Stagecoach, and actor Layton Williams, will both feature in the videos to be shown on board the bus during the workshop sessions.

Ferne McCann said:

"I've experienced first hand the impact that negative, hurtful online comments can have but I also know from experience that kind, supportive and positive comments can give you a real boost and make you feel great. Most people would never dream of trolling someone but there are people who seem to think they can say what they like online and almost forget that there's a real person on the receiving end of their comments. I am totally behind this campaign and I really hope it will help young people across the country think even more carefully about what they are saying online and the impact it can have on others."

Layton added:

"This project is so exciting and I really think it will help people think more carefully about what they are saying online - what might seem like cheeky banter to one person could actually have a lasting negative impact on the person it's aimed at and I just think sometimes people forget that. I hope this campaign will help spread love and kindness and remind us that we all have a responsibility to be nice to each other, both online and in all parts of life."

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For media enquiries, please contact: Stagecoach Group Communications on 01738 442111 or email: media@stagecoachgroup.com.

For The Diana Award please contact: Emma Pelling on 07958 558172 or emma@pellingpr.co.uk

Stagecoach Group

  • Stagecoach Group is an international public transport group, with extensive operations in the UK, the United States and Canada. The Group employs around 40,000 people, and operates around 13,000 buses, coaches, trains and trams.
  • Stagecoach is one of the UK’s biggest bus and coach operators with around 8,500 buses and coaches on a network stretching from south-west England to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Low-cost coach service, megabus.com, operates a network of inter-city services across the UK.
  • Stagecoach is a major UK rail operator, running the South West Trains, Island Line and East Midlands Trains networks. It has a 49% shareholding in Virgin Rail Group, which operates the West Coast rail franchise. It also has a 90% shareholding in Virgin Trains East Coast, which operates the East Coast rail franchise.
  • Stagecoach operates the Supertram light rail network in Sheffield.
  • In North America, Stagecoach operates around 2,300 buses and coaches in the United States and Canada. megabus.com links around 130 key locations in North America. Stagecoach is also involved in operating commuter, transit, contracted, charter, airport shuttle and sightseeing services.

The Diana Award

The Diana Award invests in developing young people through four key programmes

1.   Our flagship Award - the Diana Award, continues to shine a spotlight on outstanding young people through a retrospective nomination process.
2.   Our peer-led Anti-Bullying Campaign, enables young people to change the attitudes, behaviours and culture of bullying both offline and online through a      multifaceted approach.
3.   Our structured Mentoring Programme builds resilience and character for the most vulnerable young people in our society, helping them gain key      competencies needed to navigate life successfully.
4.   Our Inspire Series Programme, supports and enables young people to take positive action in their communities, helping them build leadership skills.

During this 20th Anniversary year The Diana Award is actively seeking supporters to help the charity continue this youth legacy, in memory of Princess Diana, and expand their work that fosters change through positive action with young people.