Confronting sectarianism

Increased support for grassroots projects.

A leading charity which helps school pupils challenge bigotry is one of the organisations which will share £530,000 of Scottish Government funding to tackle sectarianism in 2019-20.

Sense Over Sectarianism supports pupils in Glasgow to recognise and combat bigotry, as well as providing training for teachers across the country.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“Education is absolutely pivotal in our fight against this toxic bigotry. By working directly with young people in schools and colleges Sense Over Sectarianism is helping ensure that future generations can drive forward the change needed that eradicates sectarianism once and for all.

“There is no question that sectarianism is a societal problem which continues to blight communities across Scotland. We all need to do whatever is within our power to tackle this problem, and that means taking responsibility for tackling sectarianism in the areas we have influence over, whether that be football, marches and parades or in our work places.

“This latest round of funding is a real terms annual increase and takes the Scottish Government’s unprecedented investment to £14 million in anti-sectarian projects since 2012.”

Mark Adams, Development Officer at Sense Over Sectarianism, said:

“Sense over Sectarianism is delighted to be re-funded and to be able to continue to deliver this important work. In the past 12 months SOS has worked with unprecedented numbers and this funding gives the programme a solid platform to build on and consolidate this success.

“In addition we will be able to once again host the National Month of Action for Scottish schools which proved very popular in February of this year.”

Another project to benefit from the new round of funding is Nil By Mouth, which provides free anti-sectarian education in workplaces across all sectors.

Nil By Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:

“We have seen huge interest in our tackling sectarianism in the workplace programme in recent years with more than 125 employers participating, including more than a third of Scottish local authorities.

“Scotland is bigger, better and bolder than bigotry and this welcome investment in grassroots projects like ours will take that message to schools, colleges, universities, workplaces and communities right across the country and help people find their voices on this issue.”

Professor Duncan Morrow, former Chair of the independent Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland, said:

“The past few months have shown that sectarianism remains a problem in Scotland. There is no doubting that progress has been made, especially in communities, but it will continue to rear its head if it is not faced and addressed firmly.

“I am pleased that the Scottish Government remains committed to tackling sectarianism, and hope that others outside of government will now show the leadership that has been lacking for so long.”


The Scottish Government has to date supported more than 100 organisations to deliver anti-sectarian work.

The full list of organisations that will benefit from the £530,000 funding are:

  • Sense Over Sectarianism (£85,000) will deliver training for teachers on the National Anti-Sectarian Education Resource to enhance this in the work of schools across Scotland
  • Nil by Mouth (£95,000) will deliver workplace education aiming to embed an anti-sectarian culture within a wide range of public, private and voluntary sector organisations
  • West of Scotland Regional Equality Council (WSREC) (£20,000) will work with organisations to mainstream anti-sectarianism into their equalities work
  • Youth Scotland (£60,000) will deliver training for young people to develop peer led intervention, awareness and education
  • Bridging the Gap (£22,000) will build on their peer-education work with an exchange programme for young people to visit the Corrymeela Community in Northern Ireland and enhance their knowledge of sectarianism
  • Sacro (£65,000) will deliver a diversion from prosecution for hate related offences including sectarianism
  • The Fair Play Foundation (£70,000) will deliver anti-sectarian education for football coaches and players that will include Scottish FA football academies, community clubs and further education sports coaches
  • North Kelvin Sports Development Group (£27,000) will provide football-based anti-sectarian after schools education with young people from denominational and non-denominational schools.
  • YouthLink Scotland (£50,000) developing the Action on Sectarianism website and engagement across social media platforms
  • Research (£24,000) review and update 2015 examination of evidence.
  • Review of recommendations (£12,000) Review of implementation of the 2016 Rosie report on Marches and Parades in Scotland


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