IT IS 15 years since the murder of a schoolboy on a Glasgow street shocked the city into confronting its ugly, sectarian divide.

Mark Scott’s death in Bridgeton, at the hands of a stranger who only saw the colour of the football scarf he was wearing, inspired his best friend to set up a charity in his memory.

Cara Henderson – the current Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year – founded Nil by Mouth in the hope that religious and cultural diversity could be respected and celebrated by all.

As this groundbreaking organisation marks the poignant anniversary with the launch of a new, hardhitting campaign, Cara tells ANN FOTHERINGHAM why she is believes this generation will be the one to beat sectarianism for good.

IN Glasgow’s grandest public space, a campaign designed to drive another nail through the dark heart of sectarianism, has a simple message.

Social media is the new battleground in the war against bigotry.

The Pause B4U Post initiative, launched yesterday in George Square, urges young people to think twice before putting offensive material on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

It is the work of anti-sectarianism charity Nil by Mouth and, as its founder and current Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year Cara Henderson explains, it marks 15 years of battling a nasty, vicious blight on Scottish society.

“Pause B4U Post is a modern version of what Nil by Mouth has always been about,” explains Cara, simply.

“Young people don't seem to realise there are consequences to what they post online – how it might affect their own future, let alone how it can make other people feel.

“As well as causing distress, it can cost offenders their jobs, their reputations and land them in prison for up to five years.”

In the 15 years since Mark Scott died, Nil by Mouth has achieved a great deal, from an inspirational schools programme working across 20 local authority areas, to a workplace training initiative which now has more than 70 employers on board.

The charity has successfully campaigned for changes in the law, the establishment of football banning orders and the setting up of a rehabilitation programme for people charged with sectarian offences.

Above all, Nil by Mouth has taken the issue of sectarianism from the margins of public debate to the mainstream, changing attitudes in the process.

“We do see the anniversary as something to be celebrated, although I think in the past we might have been a bit reticent about putting it in those terms, given the link with Mark's murder,” says Cara.

“But it is important that people realise Nil by Mouth isn't about Mark's death, but about the way he lived his life.

“Mark didn't see people in terms of categories and he didn't fear the fact that other people were different. If anything, he thought that made them more interesting.”

In George Square, the students who created Pause B4U Post believe the campaign will change attitudes.

“We have all seen sectarianism growing up, at school, in our communities,” says Robert McElhinney, 19. “And now we see it online, all the time.

“Getting the message into schools is the right place to start.”

Danielle Short, 25, agrees: “I think previous generations have brushed it off. I don’t think people realise how serious the consequences are and we wanted our campaign to raise awareness.”

PauseB4U Post, which uses highly recognisable images like the Facebook notification screen, will now be used in Nil by Mouth’s educational programmes across the country.

Nil by Mouth campaign director Dave Scott says: “Social media sites are a huge part of young people’s lives but sadly we are increasingly seeing them used to spread hate and bigotry.

"We want to hammer home the very real consequences of posting a sectarian tweet, for example, and hopefully it will encourage them to pause before they post."

Caitlin Wilson, 20, agrees: “It’s something we feel very passionate about and it’s been great to be involved with Nil by Mouth, who were keen for this to be a campaign for young people by young people.”

Cara agrees: “There is a certain naivety of youth, but there is also much courage and determination to see the world for its possibilities and that's very powerful.

“We want more young people to join our board of trustees.

“They are not just our future but our present.”

She pauses. “We believe, with all our hearts, that this is the generation that will defeat sectarianism once and for all," she adds. "Ultimately, Nil by Mouth has no wish to last forever."