Stagecoach launches #BeNiceBus campaign

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L-R: Layton Williams, Ferne McCann and Juliette Burton with the specially liveried ADL Enviro200

Vehicle embarks on 12-month tour of the UK, helping to teach young people how to behave online and how to report online bullying

On June 7, 2017, Stagecoach launched an 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 the 20th anniversary year of Princess Diana’s death. Stagecoach has teamed up with The Diana Award charity to launch the #BeNiceBus.

The Diana Award runs an anti-bullying campaign in the UK and Ireland, which aims to give young people the skills, confidence and training to tackle all forms of bullying as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.

The #BeNiceBus tour was launched at Kingsdale Foundation School, Dulwich, by Stagecoach Group CEO 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 was 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 is expected to reach thousands of school pupils as part of The Diana Award’s Anti- Bullying campaign.

During the 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 project is being funded by Stagecoach and has involved the interior refurbishment of an Alexander Dennis Enviro200 to include a number of educational resources to help deliver the sessions. Content will be delivered through video, presentations and interactive sessions.

Stagecoach Group CEO, Martin Griffiths, said: “Most young people live their lives online these days, whether that’s using the WiFi 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.”

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.”

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.”