Media Release: Scottish youngsters become filmmakers to inspire community change

COMMUNITY-minded youngsters in Shetland and Cumbernauld have won a major competition sponsored by BT to make films highlighting issues of concern where they live.

Two teams from Cumbernauld High School and Shetland Student Advisory Group have each won professional film production support worth £1000. They also qualify for up to £5,000 and help from Unltd., a charity which supports social entrepreneurs, to turn their ideas into a community project.

Cumbernauld’s Team Turtle tackle the issue of graffiti by focussing on a boy called TJ who is a graffiti artist and doesn’t pay attention in class because he’s always practicing his tags and designs. After being caught in the act, his punishment is to visit his community centre where he changes his ways and becomes involved in community arts projects.

Fellow pupils Rainbowcorns focus on discrimination through Danny, a xenophobe who discriminates against one guy for being poor, then another for being of a different race. He falls asleep and dreams that everyone looks the same and next day, after a discussion about discrimination in his classroom, he becomes a reformed character.

The Shetland submission centres on the issue of body image through a young girl who idolises a thin celebrity. Her desire is to be exactly like her, copying her clothes, hair and body shape. After crash dieting she ends up losing concentration and fainting. The film ends with anorexia figures and the positive message: ‘Be happy with who you are!’

The advisory group comprises pupils from schools across Shetland who come together to create student-led learning programmes which can be adapted for use in their own schools.

Lewie Peterson, the global learning co-ordinator who runs the group, said: “They are all really chuffed to find out that their idea won. Many of them were very, very keen to make this film, regardless of whether or not they won it.

“The competition was a secondary part of this project because, at the time, we did not think we could win it. The fact that we have won it is absolutely excellent!”

The ‘Big Voice’ competition, which is one of three education programmes run by BT linked to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, posed two thought provoking questions for entrants. They were: If you could change one thing in your neighbourhood, what would it be? And what could you do to change it?

The winners will receive support to bring their ideas to life in front of the camera from a team of film students from the Royal Academy of Music and Drama or Aberdeen College to produce their films next autumn.

The films will be screened on giant London 2012 Live Site screens all over the UK during spring 2012 with the Scottish winner being announced at a Live Site event in Edinburgh. The top films from across the UK will be chosen to go through to the final stage of the competition – in a ceremony to announce the UK winners just before the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games begin.

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “We’ve been really impressed by the work of all the contestants, but particularly the entries from Shetland and Cumbernauld that we’ve selected to turn into films.

“It’s inspiring to see young people tackle the issues that matter to them and express themselves so passionately and creatively. The power of communication to address vital issues and make a difference in our communities is key to social cohesion and I wish all the contestants lots of luck in the future.”


Notes to editors:

Big Voice comes with a set of five video based resources that introduce the project, teach the skills of group discussion, creative problem solving, turning ideas into a film, and how to develop a film proposal to enter the competition.

Students will have the unique chance to incorporate stock footage from the BBC archive as part of their final film. This could include aerial photography, crowd scenes, or other video or audio material relevant to their script that would otherwise be impossible to film in the time and budget available.

BT’s Big Voice is one of three educational programmes that BT is running as a London 2012 sustainability partner. The other two are Coaching for Life and the Communication Triathlon. Please visit for more information.

Get Set is the official London 2012 education programme for schools and colleges across the UK. It provides free learning resources for 3-19 year olds to find out more about the Games and explore the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect, and the Paralympic Values of determination, inspiration, courage and equality. It also offers access to exciting prizes and opportunities through participation in competitions and partner programmes. There are over 18,000 schools and colleges registered with Get Set.

BT Big Voice is part of Get Set + and is featured within the Communication, Collaboration and Citizenship theme.

The Get Set network is the London 2012 reward and recognition scheme for the active community of schools and colleges across the UK that are demonstrating a commitment to living the Olympic and Paralympic Values. Members of the network gain the right to use the London 2012 education logo, and are given priority access to the most exclusive prizes and opportunities, including tickets to the Games at no cost to the school/college through the London 2012 Ticketshare initiative. There are currently over 3,000 members of the Get Set network.

All schools participating in BT Big Voice are eligible to receive even greater reward and recognition from London 2012 by joining the Get Set network.

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For further information about this press release please contact Mitch Reid or Anna Steven at the BT Scotland Press Office on 0800 085 0660. All our news releases can be read at

Or Anne Bailey on 020 8960 6069 or

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services, operating in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to our customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.

In the year ended 31 March 2011, BT Group’s revenue was £20,076 million with profit before taxation of £1,717 million.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

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Contact: Mitch Reid
Phone: 0131 448 4288