IT was a fledging charity working from an office not much bigger than a cupboard.
But a £10,000 donation from the Friends in Finance scheme was the springboard to bigger and better things.
Today Beat The Bullies is a national charity that helps scores of young people who have been affected by bullying.
And the people behind it are eternally grateful for the donation from Mark Smith, chairman and founder of the North End-based Car Finance Company.
The businessman, who served for 14 years in the Royal Navy police, wants to give back to the community and is once again launching his project to provide financial support to an organisation, group or individual.
Following the donation, Mr Smith visited the offices of Beat The Bullies in Havant and met mother and daughter Emma and Chloe Hine, who hold the reins of the charity.
The charity came from humble beginnings in Chloe’s bedroom in West Leigh after the teenager wanted to set up a support network for people who have experienced bullying.
The teenager had suffered several years of bullying and used rapping and music as her therapy.
Emma and Chloe did everything in their power to lay the foundations of the charity, but cold hard cash was needed to get it off the ground.
Emma said: ‘When Chloe saw the article in The News last year about the Friends in Finance Project offering money to local community groups she jumped at the chance to apply.
‘Chloe had no idea at the time how much winning the incredible donation of £10,000 from Friends in Finance would mean.
‘Mark surprised Chloe at the Beat the Bullies Office with a gigantic cheque for £10,000.
‘The money totally transformed Beat the Bullies.
‘It enabled us to move from a tiny two-person office to a massive 1,500sq ft fully-furnished new office.
‘We bought new computers that actually worked!
‘We bought all staff a Beat the Bullies T-Shirt for events so they actually felt like part of a team. With a new office and new equipment and happy staff we were able to help more children in the local community.
‘It gave us the financial support we needed to not only keep going but get bigger and better.’
Beat The Bullies has since moved to Alec Rose Lane, Portsmouth, as the Hines have plans to create a new drop-in centre.
Emma added: ‘The Friends in Finance Project is such an incredible thing.
‘It supports the real, hard-working people and projects that are making a difference to our local community.’
HOW TO APPLY
The Car Finance Company is looking to give back to the community by once again offering up to £20,000 to fund projects in the area.
Groups and individuals can apply for the cash under the Friends in Finance scheme, which is being spearheaded by Mark Smith, chairman and founder of the North End-based The Car Finance Company.
The project was launched last year to provide financial support to an organisation, group or individual.
Applicants can apply for funding of either £10,000, £5,000, £3,000 or £1,000.
To apply for the scheme, download an application pack by going online to:
The closing date for all entries is April 27, 2016.
Finalists will be chosen by the staff at the head office of The Car Finance Company in Portsmouth.
If you have been selected as a finalist, you will be required to present to the judging panel on May 22, 2016.
The winners will be chosen by The Car Finance Company judging panel and awarded their funding in person from Mr Smith at the winners’ breakfast.
One entrant per organisation, group or individual.
Applications received after the competition close date will not be considered.
Businesses are not eligible to enter and the scheme is open only to those within Portsmouth and the Fareham, Gosport and Havant boroughs.