25 March 2010

Northamptonshire County Council has joined forces with a Northampton-based recording label and leading county sports players to announce the launch of a single CD and download as part of the Northamptonshire anti-bullying strategy.

The project – which is a collaboration between Freehold Street Music, Northampton Saints Rugby Club, Northampton Town Football Club, Northampton Steelbacks and the council - will see all ten finalists in the county’s recent anti-bullying songwriting competition record a specially-composed song.

The proceeds of the single will be used to support the county’s anti-bullying strategy, with £1 from every CD purchase and 26 pence from every download going towards the strategy.

The Northampton-based record label and music publishers Freehold Street Music had been involved in the judging of the recent anti-bullying songwriting competition. As a result, they were approached by Jo Wood, who heads up the anti-bullying strategy (S.T.O.P) at Northamptonshire County Council, and asked to join the campaign to raise awareness of the county’s anti-bullying strategy.

“When we first spoke to Jo about the project, I knew immediately that we’d love to associate ourselves with the campaign” said Steven Crook, a director at Freehold Street Music. “Getting the local sporting clubs involved was top of my list; obviously being an ex-professional I know how much of a positive influence sportspeople can be, and being able to get the Cobblers on board has helped us raise the roof on the campaign”.

The former Northants Steelbacks star has been able to secure involvement from his old club and team mates. “Mal Loye, Niall O’Brien and some of the other boys came along to the studio and had some fun with the musical equipment we’ve got down here, and when Adebayo Akinfenwa and Stephen O’Flynn from the Cobblers came along we had a bit of a jam! Bayo was pretty handy on the drums - and the mic! - and Stephen certainly knows his way around the guitar, so we’ll have no worries when we’re recording the track”.

The ten competition finalists, comprising more than 60 primary and secondary schoolchildren from all over Northamptonshire, will be performing on the CD. Jo said: ”Having the finalists of the competition singing and playing along with the Cobblers and the Steelbacks is fantastic. It will be a dream come true for some of these children to meet their heroes”.

Councillor Andrew Grant, Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Concern about bullying is a recurring theme when we talk to children and young people about the issues that affect them.

“The young people taking part in the recording are discovering they have the power make change happen by using their talent to positively influence other children and adults.”

The single is due for release on the 19th of April, and Cobblers and Steelbacks fans will be urged to back the campaign by downloading the track from i-Tunes, pre-ordering the cd exclusively from zavvi.com or by purchasing a copy from the on-site stores at the three stadiums.

Background to the Northamptonshire Anti-Bullying Strategy

The Northamptonshire anti-bullying strategy was launched last summer with the aim of eradicating or greatly reducing bullying.

Since the launch, significant progress has taken place including the development of a new anti-bullying web page and information material as well as training for selected young people in how to influence adults back in their schools to develop their ideas for anti-bullying projects.

In addition, 65 Northamptonshire schools have signed up to an accreditation programme whereby their commitment and performance towards tackling bullying will result in the award of a bronze, silver or gold standard.

A key principle underpinning the strategy is that its development must be led by children and young people if it is to be truly effective in tackling bullying and promoting positive, caring behaviour.