Nottinghamshire anti-bullying charity teams up with support centre to tackle the issue at schools
One in two children have experienced bullying in their lives and Nottinghamshire community group Combat Bullying has a new partner to fight the problem. Education Correspondent Dan Russell finds out more.
The fight against bullying in Nottinghamshire has received a boost thanks to a new partnership which will help more vulnerable schoolchildren.
Combat Bullying has teamed up with the Haven Centre in Stapleford so that support services can be improved and expanded.
The community group currently helps around 20 children and their families but this is the first time it has been given a permanent home at the Wadsworth Road centre.
Natalie Harvey started the group after beating the bullies herself and realising that more support was needed for victims.
The 39-year-old said: “In 2012 we were basically just a website with information on for people to use but we have just continued to grow and help more and more people.
“Until now it has pretty much just been me doing most things and when I needed help I would rope in some friends.
“I got to know the Haven last year and since then this great partnership has happened and I now have an office and a team of five that can support me and help the children.
“We are expecting the amount of children coming to us to go up which is fine because we now have the room and staff to help.
“We are not expanding because we want to but because we have to due to the amount of children who are being bullied.”
Mrs Harvey is a parliamentary advisor for bullying and since starting Combat Bullying she has also launched a 24 hour phone line to help those who need it.
The mother of two said: “Bullying is getting worse and it is a massive problem with the latest research showing 50 per cent of children have experienced it.
“In a way I feel really sorry for the schools because they are under constant pressure with what goes on in the classroom nevermind what happens outside.
“I do find that some schools are very good at tackling the problem but others are not so good.
“Our children are from all over the county and have come together because they have had similar problems and together we have made a real support network.”
Mrs Harvey said that it was hard to get a real estimate on how many children have experienced bullying because many do not come forward.
Combat bullying meets every Tuesday from 4.30pm to 6pm but plans are currently being worked on to add extra sessions.
Senior minister and chairman Dave Mansfield from the Haven Centre said: “Combat Bullying is such a brilliant project and when you start to get involved in something like this you really see how bullying affects children.
“What we provide is a firm foundation and a base for the group.
“We will also be helping give guidance and support to anyone that needs it. There are things that we will be able to help with to improve Combat Bullying which will benefit everyone.
“Because they are now officially under our umbrella they can use all our resources for free and we will be helping with any fundraising efforts in the future.”
Leon Caulton is receiving help from group after being pushed, punched and kicked by other children on a regular basis.
The 11-year-old of Stapleford, said: “I have just moved schools to get away from the bullies.
“They were calling me names and telling lies to get me in trouble and they also sent nasty messages on Instagram.
“Combat Bullying helped me move schools and I am a lot happier now.
“We do a lot here like come up with different plays, do art and lots of talking to each other.”
For some children bullying started at primary school.
Sophie Basra, 14, of Stapleford, said: “I got straggled at primary school and picked on. The teachers didn’t really know what to do about it I don’t think.
“I was 10-years-old at the time and I was regularly called names which hurt.
“Bullying is a real problem and I think that it happens more than people think and it can ruin lives.
“I am glad that Combat Bullying is expanding because it mean more people will join and we can help each other.”
Sarah Turner has started volunteering with the group.
The 35-year-old of Toton, said: “I love helping the children because they are just truly amazing.
“I was really badly bullied as a child myself and I was made to eat leafs and hit a lot so I know how some of them feel.
“When I hear what some of the children have gone through it actually breaks me and I have to hold back the tears.
“The reason I am here is because I want to show them that we can help each other and that you can get through it like I did.”
By Dan Russell, Nottingham Post
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Nottinghamshire-anti-bullying-charity-teams/story-28774306-detail/story.html#ixzz40jCATGU0
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