Three years ago, Sophie Lancaster, and her boyfriend, Rob Maltby, were savagely beaten by a gang of youths, simply because they chose to dress “differently”, Sophie died from her injuries. Following Sophie’s death, her mother, Sylvia Lancaster set up the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, with one aim to: Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance, Everywhere. The charity has received huge support.
March marks one of the busiest month’s for The Sophie Lancaster Foundation. Actress, Julie Hesmondalgh, who plays Hayley in Coronation Street, alongside her husband, Channel 4 writer, Ian Kershaw, will be supporting ‘The Sophie Lancaster Creative Writing Competition’ which is being launched to the press next Tuesday, 15th March, at the Castle Hotel in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
In addition to this, on Friday, 11 March, drama-documentary, ‘Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster’, written by award winning poet, Simon Armitage, will air on BBC Radio 4, the moving piece also features an interview with Sylvia Lancaster, Sophie’s mum.
“Sophie and Rob expressed their individuality and creativity through their appearance and it is desperately sad that this was why they were targeted. Through this competition we want to inspire young people to be creative and ensure that issues of prejudice and tolerance are openly discussed in schools.” said Julie.
The writing competition is open to secondary school students across the Manchester region and the winning school will receive £1,000 with £100 going to the successful student.
Sylvia commented: “When Julie contacted us I was delighted. I am a trained youth worker and I know the positive effect that schemes like this can have on schools, it also meets with objective of our charity to change a mindset in society towards subcultures.”
The finalists of the competition will be chosen by a panel of judges from the worlds of TV, theatre, music, poetry and literature. The winner will be decided at Manchester’s Contact Theatre in October 2011.
2010 saw the successful launch of The Sophie Lancaster educational game. The game, designed for year seven students, consists of thirty cards, which represent many common ethnic and religious social groups and subcultures. Players are set a series of tasks, which challenges preconceptions and encourages development in problem solving and team working skills. The game is successfully being used in a number of schools across the country.
For more information please visit The Sophie Lancaster Foundation website.