THE anti-bullying team at Ilkley Grammar School has handed out the first ever Kindness Awards.

The awards recognise, through student nominations, two students in each year who have shown exceptional care and kindness towards other students over the past twelve months.

The awards have been supported by local businesses Toast House, Ilkley Cinema, Virtual College, Harrison Robinson, The Clevedon Restaurant, Clip ‘n Climb, Outside the Box, JCarey Design, LFW Podiatry, Pranzo and Love Brownies, who donated ten fabulous prizes for the winners.

Carly Purnell, Deputy Headteacher at IGS said:

“We are incredibly grateful to these fantastic Ilkley businesses for their generosity in donating prizes for our first ever kindness awards. With our young people facing ever more challenges these days it is important to celebrate kindness and to place it centre-stage. The support of our local businesses has enabled us to reward a group of students who display this valuable quality towards their peers.”

The two winners of the Kindness Award in each year group have been given the prizes and certificates at their end of year celebration assembly.

One of the anti-bullying team said: “Bullying online and in school continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing young people in Britain today and we are becoming increasingly aware of the huge impact it has upon mental health, self-esteem and even future prospects. We hope that this project will help people to consider the importance of kindness and how even small acts of kindness can have far reaching effects.”

The members of the IGS Anti-Bullying team attended a training course last year in Bradford which taught them how to approach problems of bullying as well as how to develop campaign ideas for raising awareness. The team meets each week and are there to support any students who are being bullied or who are going through a difficult time by talking things through, sharing advice or even just offering friendly support. So far this year, as well as setting up the prize, the team has delivered an assembly to Year 7 students, presented to all staff at a staff meeting, run information stalls at open evenings and organised various fundraising events.

A team spokesperson added: “Kindness has become a key word in recent times. In a recent novel, Wonder by R J Palacio, which has also become a highly successful film, the headmaster of the school talks about how acts of kindness have a ripple effect similar to the butterfly effect, where a small action has huge consequences. He illustrates this by saying: ‘If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary - the world really would be a better place’.

“A huge well done to the winners who have all been ‘kinder than necessary’ and a big ‘thank you’ from Ilkley Grammar School to those local businesses who have themselves shown kindness by rewarding them.”