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'Kidscape gave me help when I was desperate'

Words by Smiley Team

Kidscape offered me anti-bullying help when I was desperate, writes Kelly Anderson. Now, she works with them to pass on that help to others. 

Kidscape are the charity that I needed when I was younger.

I was excluded by peers who didn’t want to be near me for fear of 'catching something' due to my surname at the time being related to the body, and it being a hot topic across the media. I was targeted due to my weight, and I was just described as a sensitive child by school and family. When I talked to my family, I was told to ‘ignore it and it will soon go away.’ It didn’t.

I quickly learned to keep it all to myself. It had a long-term effect on my self-esteem and wellbeing, and when the bullying continued all through school, I accepted it as part of the norm, as it was something that I had become accustomed to. I was even targeted in the workplace and relationships during my early twenties, which led to me attempting to take my own life. 

When my daughter started experiencing bullying, the trauma quickly resurfaced, and I worked tirelessly to find a resolution with school and board of governors. They provided ELSA support for my daughter, but our beautiful, vibrant little girl started to become a shadow of her former self. By the time I had heard of Kidscape, I was desperate for support. I was hurt, angry and scared for my daughter.

'The community workshop was life-changing for us'

Attending the ZAP Community workshop was life-changing for us. We were surrounded by support from the Kidscape team and our peers in the rooms with us that day. There were tears – lots of tears from us parents, but when I said that I feel as a parent that I am not believed about what my daughter is experiencing, Mira said ‘I believe you.’ In that moment it was like a weight had been lifted and like I could breathe again.

We heard about the steps that we could take to work in collaboration with schools, and to take positive action to get the bullying behaviour to stop. My daughter? She had an amazing day learning practical strategies that could help to increase her assertiveness and resilience, with a wonderful group of young people who had also been targeted through no fault of their own. 

The Kidscape team are small but mighty, and I was honored to officially join the team in November 2021 as a Community Leader and Youth Engagement Co-Ordinator, following 2 years of volunteering with Kidscape, where I train adults and young people how to confidently recognize the signs and symptoms of bullying behaviour, and facilitate discussion on how they can take an active role to provide help and support to a young person, by being an upstander within their communities. We have already reached over 500 people with this training.

'Kidscape has provided our family with hope'

We know that Kidscape has a hugely positive impact on children’s lives. Of the children who take part in Kidscape’s free ZAP workshops – specially designed to offer hope and help with bullying – 100% report that they now feel happier. Meanwhile, our Community Leader Training empowers adults and young people to take positive action, creating communities where children are safe from bullying and harm. 100% say they feel more equipped with practical strategies to handle bullying situations. It’s wonderful to know that we are making a difference. 

Kidscape have not only provided us as a family with the hope and help that we needed when my daughter was experiencing a bullying situation, but have helped hugely with my own healing. I am part of an incredible team of people who just don’t realise how wonderful they are for their positive action and advocacy for young people.

Inspired to act?

For anti-bullying help, you can sign up to their free assertiveness workshops for children aged 9-16 and their parents/carers. There is also Community Leader training for adults

Make a donation to Kidscape to help them continue the important work they're doing. 

Find out about volunteering opportunities and where your support will be needed most. 

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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