Bullied schoolgirl starts charity to help other victims

. (left to right), Grace Brett (10), Jessica Hine (12), Chloe Hine (15), and  Emma Coquille (16).'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150417-3)

. (left to right), Grace Brett (10), Jessica Hine (12), Chloe Hine (15), and Emma Coquille (16).'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150417-3)

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It’s hard to imagine in her depths of despair that just a couple of years later Chloe Hine would be starting her own anti-bullying charity.

The teenager hit rock bottom and felt she had no-one to turn to.

But the 15-year-old has been able to turn her anguish into a positive light that she now hopes will be a beacon of support and guidance for thousands of bullying victims across the country.

Chloe, supported by family and a growing band of volunteers, is launching her Beat The Bullies charity this summer.

And this is not some flight of fancy – she and her supporters are determined to make it work.

Chloe has the backing of big names, with mobile phone giant O2 helping to build a website and an app that will be available to more than 13m people nationwide.

Bullies made my life absolute hell, They isolated me from everyone. It got to the point where I wanted to end my own life

Chloe Hine

I meet Chloe, her mum Emma Hine, the charity’s chief executive, and other volunteers – who range in age from 10 to 42 – at their office at Langstone Gate in Havant.

In the coming weeks, there will be a frenzy of meetings and long days as the charity takes shape.

And they are calling on the local community to help get the organisation off the ground.

Emma, 38, from West Leigh, Havant, said: ‘We have applied to the Charity Commission, but that can take up to 40 days and we have a lot of questions coming our way.

‘We have started to write our policies and procedures.

‘Before we can launch it and start working with the young adults, we have to make sure everything is in place.

‘It’s a massive venture. We desperately need volunteers and helpers. The more people who want to help, the more we can grow.’

The main ethos of Beat the Bullies is using music and songwriting as a form of therapy.

Chloe was able to work with the Music Fusion recording studio in Havant to produce her own rap music under her alter ego Karrera, who has since performed at the Royal Albert Hall and the O2’s indigo venue.

Not everyone will be able to record songs in a music studio, so the website will have a virtual studio where users can make music.

Chloe tells me she only found music by chance when she hit her all-time low of depression.

‘Bullies made my life absolute hell,’ she says.

‘They isolated me from everyone.

‘I had absolutely nobody – I was terrified to even go into school.

‘It was mainly cyberbullying, but they would do things to make me feel worthless.

‘It got to the point where I wanted to end my own life.

‘I didn’t want to get out of bed.

‘And then I found songwriting. When I wrote a message to say goodbye, it came out of me as a song.

‘I found that songwriting is so therapeutic because music is so powerful.

‘When I found out that it works as well as it did to get to the stage I am at now, I couldn’t keep it to myself.

‘This is about using music as a therapy to turn that a negative experience into something positive.

‘It’s nice to have someone who will listen but it’s also nice to know how to help yourself, otherwise you are going to get nowhere and that’s we do.’

Emma adds: ‘As a parent it’s really hard to hear Chloe’s story.

‘Finding out your child was so low, I had no idea. It’s very distressing.

‘We have had feedback from other parents, that once they have put their story into a song, it’s hard for parents to listen to because they had no idea this was happening.’

Eleven volunteers are now on board with the charity and many more will be needed in the coming months.

Matt Berry, 40, a service engineer and friend of the family, from Havant, is on the board of trustees.

He said: ‘My son was bullied at school for a while and my daughter is now being bullied, so I wanted to be involved in it all.

‘It’s great. I think it will really take off.’

Paul Brett, 38, a health and safety adviser, from Hayling Island, is helping with all the policies and procedures for the charity.

‘I used to get bullied at school when I was younger,’ he says.

‘Bullying is not a nice thing. At the time, it had quite a bad effect – it makes you feel terrible.

‘But if you can come out of the other side of it, it will make you a stronger person, especially now you have people to support you.’

The website will also provide support and have messageboards for people who have been bullied.

Confidentiality will be important on the website, and people do not have to share their song if they don’t wish to.

Emma Coquille, 16, from North End, who is artistic director and has recorded her own song which she has shared on YouTube, says: ‘I think the charity is amazing.

‘There are not many charities for children and teenagers who are bullied.

‘There really needed to be one, and now there is.’

Chloe and Emma know there is lots of work to do, but they are ready for the challenge.

O2 has said the charity can use 70 of its staff if it is in desperate need of help when the charity launches.

Emma, a former call centre manager, says: ‘We are going to be on the O2 Wifi network which has access to over 13m users.

‘So when people see Beat The Bullies, we want them to see Portsmouth and Havant.

‘We want to show what our local community has achieved and turn it into a national charity.

‘We are proud of where we are from.’

And Chloe, who won two trophies at last year’s News Youth Awards is clearly a girl on a mission for the greater good of society.

‘I just have to help other people,’ she says.

‘Bullying is something awful and it needs to be stopped.’

Chloe wishes to thank the following businesses, individuals and organisations who have helped so far:

Seaward Properties for donating an office in Langstone Gate, PMB Safety, graphic designer Eric Downer, O2, and the chief executive of Make A Wish Foundation, Neil Smith, for providing personal support and training.

The charity desperately needs desktop computers, laptops, office equipment including white boards, and any musical equipment, both digital and instruments.

It also needs more adult and teenage volunteers to help with drawing, music backing tracks, songwriting, fundraising, office work, and those who have worked with young people who can give help and advice.

Anyone interested should email beatthebullies0@gmail.com or call 07545 664784.

Also see facebook.com/beatthe.bullies or Twitter @beatthebullies4.

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