Friday, November 16, 2018 Scottish Swimming supports Anti-Bullying Week Stefan Hoggan, former para swimmer and traithlete Kirsty Ewen, a volunteer coach at Inverness ASC, and member of the Young People's Sport Panel Scottish Swimming strives for inclusion, creativity and teamwork As part of Anti-Bullying Week, we would like to once again promote our values of inclusiveness, confidence, creativity and the idea that we are all One Team. All of these can only be achieved in an environment where bullying is non-existent. The theme for this year's Anti-Bullying Week is to choose respect over bullying, and you can use the #ChooseRespect to keep up on social media. Here are two inspiring messages from within the Scottish Swimming community, from a former international athlete and a current volunteer. Stefan Hoggan swam at internationally in Para Swimming events and has competed in triathlon, and is currently an ambassdor for LEAP Sports. He said: "As a wee boy I was bullied for having half an arm, called horrible names for being different. I wish I could go back and tell him everything turns out good but I can't. "Bullying is never acceptable, please if you hear or see it, stop it!" Kirsty Ewen, a volunteer coach at Inverness ASC, and a member of sportscotland’s Young People’s Sport Panel for the last two years, says that sport has changed her life. During school, Kirsty struggled with her mental health. Kirsty speak passionately on this subject and says that volunteering in sport saved her life, she has been determined to ensure anyone feeling in a similar position is not alone. She said: "Bullying can be hugely detrimental to people’s mental health and wellbeing. It can mean someone falling completely out of love with things they enjoy doing and can lead to isolation. "People should be able to participate in sport regardless of their age/gender/race/size/ability or sexual orientation. Sport and physical activity provides a massive opportunity for people to be themselves and be accepted for who they are. It’s also a great way to keep your mind healthy and relieve stress. "If you’re being bullied speak to someone you trust; a friend, a coach, a parent or anyone who can help. Talking about what you’re going through is so important and there’s always someone who will have your back and wants to be there for you. Things will get better, always hold on to that." Following a consultation with over 800 children, teachers and members of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, it emerged that a top priority was showing that bullying is a behaviour choice, and that children and young people can set a positive example by opting to respect each other at school, in their homes and communities, and online. The aims of this week are to support schools and other settings to help children and young people, school staff, parents and other professionals who work with children to understand: The definition of respect That bullying is a behaviour choice That we can respectfully disagree with each other i.e. we don’t have to be best friends or always agree with each other but we do have to respect each other That we all need to choose to respect each other both face to face and online What does your club or swim school do to combat bullying and promote a positive and respectful swimming environment? Tell us on social media using #AntiBullyingWeek #ChooseRespect.