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Douze points as biggest Eurovision education programme ever hits Merseyside

A giant chessboard, a lip sync battle and an art trail inspired by local and European art are among the 27 School projects across Liverpool City Region which have received EuroGrant funding to celebrate Eurovision.

Supported by Spirit of 2012, Liverpool City Council's Culture Liverpool team invited Schools across:- Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Halton, St Helens and Knowsley to apply for grants of up to £2,000, to get into the Eurovision spirit by hosting events that celebrate the competition itself, the relationship with our friends in Ukraine, and the wider European heritage, in Liverpool.

The projects form part of the host City's EuroLearn programme which provides a unique opportunity for Schools; and non-School educational settings; to celebrate all things Eurovision by taking part in and delivering their own events.

Among the successful Schools is Our Lady of Compassion Catholic Primary School, in Formby. Each class will represent a country taking part in this year's Eurovision Song Contest and will be responsible for making local delicacies from their country which will be shared at a European street food market. Early Years and Infant pupils will learn and perform a Eurovision song from their designated country, whilst Juniors will compose and perform an original song. The whole School will also perform:- 'We all live in a blue and yellow submarine' to unite Liverpool and Ukraine through music.

The project will teach the children about other cultures through cooking and music, but there will be a specific focus on learning about traditional Ukrainian customs. The School's Ukrainian teaching assistant will share symbols of Ukraine, such as the traditional clothing, flag and vinochok (flower crown). The School will also be running art workshops based on the Ukrainian national flower, the sunflower, to create Van Gogh inspired paintings and a collaborative mural with each child adding their own petal with their name to create a lasting legacy of:- 'The Class of Eurovision 2023.' Alongside this, the children will decorate plant pots using the Ukrainian colours of blue and yellow to plant our own sunflowers as a symbol of unity and hope.

To honour the link with Liverpool's sister City, Odesa, the School will invite family members to teach children how to play chess on a giant chess board in the colours of the Ukranian flag. Each class will create a Liverpool themed and a Eurovision themed chess piece, representing icons such as:- Conchita Wurst, Sam Ryder, a Superlambanana, or a Liver Bird, using design and technology skills to bring their plans to life.

St Charles' Catholic Primary School in Liverpool will see pupils take on the roles of producer, director and pop star as they create music videos. From story-boarding and filming lip-sync battle style performances using green screen techniques to editing using cropping, trimming and splitting techniques and adding transitions, filters and captions, pupils will learn what it takes to put a music video together.

From a mural in Anfield and an art trail in Wirral to drama workshops in Stockbridge Village and filmmaking workshops in Widnes, there will be no escaping the Eurovision magic.

Full list of Schools which have secured funding available here.

Rachel Farrell, a teacher from Our Lady of Compassion Catholic Primary School, said:- "We are delighted to have received EuroGrant funding to realise our ideas. We want children to understand the significance of such a weird and wonderful event being held in our City and appreciate that this truly is a once in a lifetime experience. The opportunity to celebrate a contest that is based on individuality and celebrating diversity will be incredible for our pupils."

Claire McColgan CBE, Director of Culture Liverpool said:- "If there's 1 thing we know the Schools across Liverpool City Region have in abundance, it's creativity and we weren't disappointed with their applications for EuroGrant. The successful projects provide an opportunity for children to learn about different cultures though music, fashion, food, dance, drama, visual art, filmmaking and much more. Young people from nurseries to Secondary Schools will not only have a chance to be part of this once in a lifetime celebration which will see their hometown host the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine, but they'll also pick up some new skills along the way."

Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive at Spirit of 2012 said:- "As the excitement builds, we're on a mission to find out how we can spread some Eurovision stardust to bring joy to the children and people in the host City and Region. These grants will fund projects that will not only spark children's creativity, but also provide a fantastic opportunity to build on their learning about the lives and experiences of children from other countries and cultures. What we learn from these 27 projects will help us develop guidance for future international events."

English charities share in almost £1.2 million funding boost from ScottishPower Foundation

A host of charities in England have been awarded a funding boost from the ScottishPower Foundation, with the vital support set to aid vulnerable people, communities and natural ecosystems across the nation.

Seven charities from across the country will share in funding totalling almost £1.2 million for projects tackling a range of issues, from cost of living support, to promoting diversity and inclusion, raising awareness of the ongoing climate and biodiversity crises and addressing skills and attainment gaps in society.

Among the charities supported by the ScottishPower Foundation, in 2023, is Leeds Culture Trust's Smeaton300 project. It's set to inspire the next generation to develop innovative solutions to real life STEAM challenges through their Smeaton300 project. Young people will be invited to reimagine a disused space into a public park memorialising John Smeaton, the Leeds born founder of civil engineering.

The ScottishPower Foundation's support for the Smeaton300 Learning Programme will help in the rollout of sessions with local Schools as pupils use their creativity and STEAM-subject knowledge to devise innovative solutions for the imagined space.

The project will also offer a mobile observatory tour workshop, Moon Palace, that will give children from 10 Schools the opportunity to stargaze and learn about space, STEAM and sustainability. The children will have access to telescopes, and hear from leading artists and astronomers to learn about art, science and much more.

Melanie Hill, Executive Officer and Trustee, at the ScottishPower Foundation, said:- "The work of Leeds Culture Trust's Smeaton300 project is extremely valuable, offering a unique opportunity for School pupils and communities in the City to be inspired and get creative, and use their imagination to ensure that the imagined park space is utilised in a way that benefits and speaks to them. Projects like this are prime examples of how the ScottishPower Foundation's support is helping to create a better world, for generations today and those of the future, and why it's important for us to recognise and boost the incredible work of charities across the UK."

Head of Development for LEEDS 2023, Sofi Lundgren said:- "We are very grateful to the ScottishPower Foundation for recognising the impact LEEDS 2023 can have on supporting and encouraging young people to maximise their potential through creativity and STEAM. Smeaton300 is a signature project in our Year of Culture and through it we will shine a light on the incredible impact the Leeds-born engineer made across the world. Thanks to this support, a new generation of designers and engineers now can be inspired to make the world a better place."

Among the other 2023 projects funded by the ScottishPower Foundation is the creation of a:- 'community pantry' in 1 of the UK's most ethnically diverse areas, which offers foods and products that are culturally appropriate to the community's members, such as halal meats. The new community hub in Newham in East London will support around 2,000 locals.

The Renewal Programme's Newham: United Against Food Waste initiative, which aims to tackle food waste and food insecurity in the London borough, will use the funding to recruit a Food-Waste Reduction Coordinator. It partners with local restaurants, shops, and market vendors to secure surplus food that would otherwise be wasted and redistributes it to local foodbanks, transported in a low-emission way via 2 cargo bikes.

Durham Wildlife Trust's Cuthbert Moor Restoration project is also funded by the ScottishPower Foundation. The project aims to restore peat and bog habitats to realise the true ecological and environmental potential of this northern English landscape and natural ecosystem.

The support from the ScottishPower Foundation will specifically help to fund the recruitment of a dedicated Cuthbert Moor Management Officer as the project undertakes extensive baseline surveys while engaging with the local community and establishing volunteering opportunities.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the ScottishPower Foundation has awarded over £12 million to charitable initiatives across the UK.

Melanie Hill added:- "This is an incredibly exciting year for us, with so many amazing projects benefitting from our support and making a difference within their local communities. The real impact these initiatives will have for so many people can't be understated, and I can't wait to see what amazing work these charities will continue to do throughout the year." 

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