A friend in need is a friend indeed as Lewis' project is a big success

HIS aim was to make sure everyone has a friend.

Tuesday, 5th April 2016, 6:00 am
Young people having fun at a Friend Finder event

And, in under a year, determined Lewis Hine has certainly made great strides as more than 200 children have made new friends.

The 14-year-old started his project, Friend Finder, as he felt there were hundreds of children out there like him who struggle to make lasting friends, through no fault of their own.

After 12 brain surgeries and spending most of his life in hospital, Lewis knew how hard making friends was to a child that did not have the luxury of going to school every day.

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Lewis, from West Leigh, created Friend Finder with the help of a £300 grant from O2 to bring children in similar situations together.

Lewis found children coming to the events had trouble communicating and writing details so he suggested they used Poken!, a technology that allows youngsters to swap details.

Even better, when they get home they can use ‘pokens’ to see all the new friends they have made.

Lewis, who attends Portchester Community School, said: ‘Having a friend is one of the simple things in life that everyone should have.

‘When you’re poorly and spend a lot of time in hospital away from school it’s hard to bond into friendship groups.

‘I have spent 14 years in and out of hospital and I know first-hand how hard it is. Friend Finder brings other children and teenagers like me together.

‘The pokens are so much fun and everyone who comes along gets one.

‘You find a friend, touch the pokens together and they light up when the information is being transferred from one to the other.

‘When you get home you plug yours into your computer and you have all your new friends’ details on your password controlled poken.’

He added: ‘I have so many new friends now it’s great!

‘I want to help as many children as I can throughout the UK and then the world.’

Poken’s founder Stephane Doutriaux said: ‘Our objective is to empower young teenagers who may lack in confidence and struggle to form friendships.’

Lewis holds one Friend Finder event a month. For more information email [email protected].