Teenager recognised for anti-bullying campaign
A STUDENTÂ from Portsmouth College has received the prestigious '˜Diana Award' for his dedicationÂ to tackle bullying in schools.
BuddingÂ entrepreneur, Keiran O'Toole, 18, was awarded the accolade for using his business successÂ to fund anti-bullying programmes in Portsmouth schools.
Two years ago Keiran set up his business enterprise, Rock Clothing,Â which uses money from productÂ sales to invest in workshops and events to educate children on issues of bullying.
'˜I wanted to set up a business which gave something back to the community and so I started Rock Clothing. We use our profits to subsidiseÂ anti-bullying workshops in schools,' explained Keiran.Â Â
The teenagerÂ was inspired to set up theÂ initiative after his own experience of being bulliedÂ at school.
Keiran said: '˜When I was at school I got bullied and felt like there wasn't any support for me and so I bottled it up and didn't speak to anyone.'
Keiran started the business two years ago withÂ the support of Unloc Enterprise Academy '“Â an organisation who supports young people to establish sustainable community basedÂ business initiatives.Â
'˜One of the directors at UnlocÂ really believed in me and gave me the confidence to set up Rock Clothing,' said Keiran.
'˜The enterprise has gone from strength toÂ strength and has subsidiseÂ the '˜Anti-bullying Ambassador' scheme we have establishedÂ in a number of local schools. We train young people to become '˜catalysts for change' in helping to stop bullying,'Â addedÂ Keiran.
The programmeÂ involves educatingÂ young people to understand the impacts of bullying and train pupils to listen to their peers and provideÂ support toÂ those who may be experiencing a problem.
Many local schools have been involved in the project including St Jude's Primary, St Thomas More's, Priory SchoolÂ and King RichardÂ School.
'˜There has never been any negative feedback from schools. All evaluations have been 100 percent positive' said Keiran.
In January Rock Clothing also organised an anti-bullying conference in which 700 young people came together at Portsmouth Guildhall to share ideas on how to tackle the issue.Â
'˜TheÂ reason I am doing this is so that other young people have the support that I felt I didn't have and the opportunity to speak out,' explained Keiran.
Last year Keiran also won the '˜Youth Civic Award' for his services to the community. Then 17 the award is the highest accoladeÂ anyone under 18 can receive.
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