Hannah Archibald is helping Changing Faces raise awareness

Young Ambassador Hannah Archibald from Biggar hopes organisations will use the resources.Young Ambassador Hannah Archibald from Biggar hopes organisations will use the resources.
Young Ambassador Hannah Archibald from Biggar hopes organisations will use the resources.
A teenager from Biggar is helping to tackle bullying faced by children and young people who have a visible difference or disfigurement.

Changing Faces is also launching a new set of resources and training for youth workers and volunteers in Scotland today (Wednesday).

Hannah Archibald from Biggar, who has Sturge Weber syndrome, is a young ambassador, for the charity.

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She is speaking out in support of the new resources and calling for youth workers and volunteers who run clubs and groups to use them to become better equipped to talk about looking different.

Hannah (18) said: “When I was younger, I went along to a few groups, but the leaders didn’t know how to explain my condition to the other young people. I ended up being ignored and what should have been fun, made me feel lonely.

“Since then, I have discovered music and I am a proud member of the brilliant Coalburn Brass Band. I feel seen and understood by everyone there and we’ve even performed a charity concert for Changing Faces.

“Through activities like that, they’ve helped me speak out about what living life with a visible difference can be like. I hope more youth workers and volunteers look at these new resources.”

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In a recent piece of research, Changing Faces found that one in six children living with a visible difference were too self-conscious about the way they look to join new groups and 19 per cent feared they would get bullied at a club.

In response to the findings, Changing Faces, developed a set of new resources, funded by The Robertson Trust and the National Lottery Community Fund in Scotland, to support youth workers and volunteers to better understand and deliver workshops on visible differences.

Angela Harris, Changing Faces chief in Scotland, said: “We want children and young people with a visible difference, like a scar, mark or condition, to be able to live the life they want to lead. That includes feeling comfortable and confident in youth clubs and groups that we all know can be so beneficial.

“We live in a society that puts great emphasis on body image. Our new resources help youth workers and volunteers to support young people to challenge stereotypes and start to think differently about appearance.”

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The new resources were designed and developed with community and youth work experts from organisations including YouthLink Scotland, Youth Scotland and Scouts Scotland, as well as young people, their parents, and adults with visible differences and disfigurements.

The resources give guidance to anyone who wants to run a workshop with their youth group, as well as a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training module that’s suitable for youth workers and volunteers. The training film features two youth workers and a group of young people from Greenock who took part in the pilot.

Changing Faces is now working with partner organisations including YouthLink Scotland and Youth Scotland, to share the resources and encourage more youth workers and groups to use them.

The resources are being rolled-out in Scotland first, before being made available UK-wide.

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