School pupils across Worcestershire are being invited to get creative as part of a Rotary Club campaign to promote peace and mental wellbeing among young people.

The Peace Pole competition forms part of a drive by Redditch, Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Stourport and Bewdley Rotary Clubs, to tackle the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, discrimination, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.

With an estimated 250,000 across the globe, Peace Poles are internationally recognised as the most prominent symbol, monument and silent visual for peace. They also represent peace and collaboration between different countries.

The initiative is being widened out following the success of a recent Peace Pole planting at The Bewdley School.

Schools are being invited to submit their design for a Peace Garden, with the winning entry being presented with their own bespoke Peace Pole, donated by the Heart of England Rotary Clubs.

Rotarian and Peace Project co-ordinator Margaret Morley said: “As an organisation, Rotary is totally committed to working with schools in any way they feel necessary to support their Peace Education Curriculum and encourage a culture of peace, which is so important in today’s society.

“Peace Poles are so important, as they take children out of the classroom and provide areas of tranquillity and reflection, which are so important in terms of mental-health issues. They also encourage an interest in the environment and planting & growing.

"The Peace Pole is a constant reminder that we are working together to create a caring and compassionate society. Children love them. Ceremonies can be planned around them to encourage a culture of peace within the school.”

Each year the Rotary also awards more than 100 fully funded Peace Fellowships training for dedicated leaders around the world. Since the programme began in 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,400 fellows across 115 countries, many of whom now serve as leaders in governments, the military, education, law enforcement and international organisations like the United Nations.

Margaret added: “As a humanitarian organisation, peace is a cornerstone of our mission. We believe when people work to create peace in their communities, that change can have a global effect.”

Schools interested in finding out more about the competition or the Peace Project are invited to contact Margaret at: morleyam@aol.com.