Young people and staff at a Bolton secondary school have shared their inspirational real-life experiences - including a harrowing journey for a better life - in a bid to make the world a better place.

A special evening was held to launch a book, This Is Us, in which the Ladybridge High School family write about their experiences.

Headteacher Patrick Russell said: "Ladybridge High School is full of amazing people who come from a diverse range of nationalities and backgrounds, and their stories were presented beautifully and with real emotion to a captive audience. It has been an honour to listen to their experiences and to discover so much about their lives, which have now been collated into our very own book, ‘This Is Us’."

The Bolton News: This is Us Book Launch by Ladybridge High School

The Bolton News: This is Us Book Launch by Ladybridge High School

Among the most powerful of stories is that of 12-year-old pupil who recounts his journey from Kurdistan to Bolton, an absolutely terrifying journey including being transported in a back of a lorry.

Mr Russell said: "In curating this book we worked closely with ‘Tales to Inspire‘, a fantastic local organisation focused on harnessing the power of stories to make connections with others. Many thanks to Krish Patel and Madiha Sosan for the amazing workshops with our learners and the confidence that you were able to inspire within them.

"The publication of the book has been generously supported by the North West Comino Consortium – an organisation that supports important work in schools across the North West in creating cultural, creative and real-world experiences for young people. Thank The Bolton News: This is Us Book Launch by Ladybridge High Schoolyou to Pat Walters and Deborah Davidson for your support with this project.


"As a result of this funding, we are able to donate all proceeds from the sale of our book to BRASS, a Bolton based charity which supports refugees and asylum seekers with a range of services to help overcome barriers and integrate into the local community."

The launch event was held at Bolton Museum.

Mr John Knowles, head of humanities said: "Martin Ainscough invited learners and staff to become involved in the 'This Is Us' project, supported by the Comino Foundation. As a school, we are looking beyond the classroom to deliver engaging local projects.

"I was born in Bolton and have taught my whole career in schools in our town and felt it would be an ideal opportunity to share my family heritage and story.

"At Ladybridge High School, we are proud of our diverse community, cultures and heritages and I am passionate about the story of my grandparent’s arrival to the UK as Polish refugees post World War Two.

"They settled in Bolton and created their own community with other Polish and Ukrainian people who were also displaced.

"They integrated into life in Bolton where they welcomed the hospitality and worked in the cotton mills and other factories, contributing to the fabric of our town.

"Through the book and the event at Bolton Library we had the opportunity to share inspirational stories of community, and listening to the aspirations of our young people really gave a sense of hope and pride to our Bolton community."

The book is a collection of 25 inspirational stories which celebrates the school community.

Young people said sharing their stories and journeys has had a powerful impact.

Alisha Greeves, 15, said: "I wanted to share my story and let people know that it's alright to be different. I gained a lot of confidence from it and made some friends from the project. Everyone has a different story so don't just judge somebody; get to know them and understand their background."

Rasti Hussain, 13, said: "I enjoyed listening to other people's stories and others hearing my story. I got more confidence by presenting my story at the event and not being afraid to tell the truth. By reading our stories and understanding different backgrounds, people may be less judgmental."

Max Taylor, 14, added: "When I was little I got bullied and started doing boxing and football to help look after myself. It was nervous and a bit cringey presenting but I found it was actually ok. People should defend themselves and learn skills to help them."

Anna Joof, 14, said: "I found it inspiring because my story can help to provide a voice for other people who can't speak up. Reading my story at the event made me feel like I'd achieved something."

Copies of the book are available to purchase in school for £6 and can also be purchased via ParentPay (applicable to parents and carers), or via our SumUp Online Store which also includes a delivery option.

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