HeadStart Hull is leading the fight against bullying and will host the city’s first Anti-Bullying Summit on Thursday 22 November at The Guildhall.
Funded by the Big Lottery Fund, HeadStart Hull is an initiative to improve children and young people’s mental health and raise awareness of the support available across the city.
The summit has been developed by HeadStart Hull’s young volunteers who are keen to improve support for young people experiencing bullying, as well as how we support bullies to address behaviour and deal with underlying issues.
Kaitlyn Robson, Member of Youth Parliament, aged 16, said: “Bullying has been a concern for a long time and has come up as an issue through consultation and in Hull Young People’s Parliament year after year, so this summit is a good way to begin the change and stop bullying happening in schools.”
Austin Greenley, aged 21, said: “Bullying is a major issue in everything, so I would like to tackle it and would prefer other people don’t go through a hard time in life.”
Each secondary school and several youth projects have been asked to identify three young people and two staff members who are willing to attend the summit become anti-bullying ambassadors in their setting.
This summit will run between 9.30am – 2.30pm and includes the launch of the HeadStart Hull anti-bullying film, workshops for young people and staff and a discussion in the Council Chamber in the afternoon where young people vote on resolutions and staff pledge to help them turn the resolutions into reality in their school or youth centre.
There will be follow up support from the HeadStart Hull team to turn these resolutions/pledges into reality throughout the rest of the academic year.
We know from local consultation with young people in Hull that bullying (including online bullying) is the biggest issue impacting on children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing in the city. In a survey of over 1,300 young people 49 per cent of young people said that bullying had impacted on their lives.
Councillor Peter Clark, Portfolio Holder for Children, Learning and Safeguarding Children, said: “Hosting the city’s first Anti-Bullying Summit highlights the commitment of young people and the council in their bid to stamp-out bullying. Children and young people have identified that bullying is high on their agenda and have been keen to raise awareness to show everyone in the city that bullying is not acceptable.
“Bullying should not be tolerated in any walk of life, and this campaign is a brilliant way to promote respect and celebrate people’s differences.”
Gail Teasdale, HeadStart Hull lead, said: “Giving young people the opportunity to have a voice and educate others that bullying should not be tolerated is really important. Bullying can happen anywhere and be about anything. We want to support both the victim and the bully, as there may be some underlying issues and reasons as to why they are causing other people misery and we can offer help to combat their problems.”
HeadStart Hull’s young volunteers have been working together to produce a short fictional film about bullying, which has been made available on YouTube with links to support agencies and resources to schools across the city and country to use. The film, ‘Level’, tells the story of a victim of bullying from the LGBT+ community and the young people who bully him. As the story unfolds it demonstrates how the bullying affects the victim and gives insight into the reasons behind the main bully’s behaviour (i.e. not feeling safe to explore his own gender and sexuality because of his homophobic father). The film ends with both the bully and the victim looking into a mirror saying “I need help” to highlight that they are both vulnerable, despite the extreme differences in their behaviour.
The film is the starting point for discussion around how to better support both victims of bullying and the bullies themselves.
Taylor Kelly, aged 18 involved in the production of the video, said: “The topic of bullying is becoming desensitised and I hope the video we present explicitly shows exactly what happens behind doors.”
Gail Teasdale continued: “The idea for the film and the summit came from the young people and they were particularly keen to highlight the issues around bullying. I am so proud to see that all their hard work has paid off and we are delighted that young people are working with us to co-produce this summit and campaign for the benefit of children and young people across the city.”