Jill Dando's legacy remains in Weston and beyond through student news centres
PUBLISHED: 15:55 25 April 2019
Jill Dando's legacy lives on 20 years after her death as student news centres aid the next generation of reporters across the town.
More than 5,000 children across North Somerset, and in Africa, have been inspired by the life of the former Mercury journalist.
News centres have been built in her honour, the first of which opened at Worle Community School Academy (WCSA), where Jill was a former pupil, in October 2017.
The aim is to give youngsters the chance to tell positive stories about their peers, boosting literacy skills and teach them about journalism.
The Jill Dando News Centres are simple but effective; youngsters have access to iPads and notepads which enable them to write positive stories across their schools and community.
Students are trained by Jill's brother, Nigel Dando, their stories go into their own newspaper, The Good News Post, and are also shared on social media.
Nigel said: “This scheme is mind-bogglingly brilliant. Jill would be tickled pink by it all.”
Izzy Simmons, student reporter, added: “We have been working for a long time in preparation for the anniversary.
“For us it is very important we remember Jill Dando and all she stood for in the local community.”
The youngsters' work has highlighted Jill's career – boosting positivity, kindness, and good news stories.
A number of stories have been picked up by publications across the world, with one story being featured in Time magazine in America.
African children in Malawi also have a news centre after Priory English teacher and news centre leader Sarah O'Gorman visited the country in August.
Students have been following the development of a community livestock empowerment programme where three rural villages living in extreme poverty have been challenged to raise and breed two pigs.
Castle Batch Primary School Academy pupil Shannon Kingston, aged 11, said: “The Jill Dando News Centres are a really good place to be, it's great to make good friends and it's really positive.”