Help needed to support Havant teenager’s Friend Finder project

Lewis Hine     Picture: Habibur Rahman
Lewis Hine Picture: Habibur Rahman
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MORE volunteers are needed to support a project which helps youngsters make friends.

Teenager Lewis Hine is holding an event on Monday in Portsmouth for people to learn about his Friend Finder scheme.

There are lots of different roles so there should be something to suit the skills of anyone who wants to help

Emma Hine

Set up a few years ago by the 16-year-old, the website helps young people who find it hard to socialise to connect with others and make new friends.

Lewis himself had difficulty socialising because he has spent a lot of time in and out of hospital with a series of health problems.

The project has grown since its launch to be used around the UK and last year, a prom night was held for users of the website.

Its popularity means more people are now needed to help run it from people to run social media sites, volunteers to help fundraise and admin staff.

Lewis’ mum Emma, from Havant, said: ‘Friend Finder has been so successful that we need more volunteers.

‘We have contact from so many children who want to make friends that we need more volunteers to make it happen.

‘The event on Monday will be for people to meet Lewis, talk to our current volunteers and see what opportunities there are available.

‘There are lots of different roles so there should be something to suit the skills of anyone who wants to help.’

Friend Finder is expected to get busier as Lewis, his family and friends look to host another two proms this year following last year’s success.

As previously reported in The News, hundreds of teenagers from across the UK who were not able to go to their own proms were invited to Portsmouth Guildhall for a black-tie evening.

For this year, they want to hold one prom in Portsmouth and a second in Birmingham.

Emma said: ‘Just by holding two proms this year we are going to need more people because it is more organisation.

‘It is amazing to see how much Friend Finder has grown starting from one party to where we are now.

‘To have to recruit more volunteers is really great and means we can try to help more young people.’

Lewis’s success in his Friend Finder project has seen him named Hero of the Year at the Radio 1 Teen Awards at Wembley Arena, in October 2016.

Then, in March last year a video he recorded after his 16th birthday went viral.

It led to a phone call from megastar Elton John, who praised the youngster’s courage.

In the video Lewis spoke about his health problems and the challenges he faces on a daily basis.

He was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was younger and suffers seizures.

The information event is on Monday between 6pm and 8pm at The Study, on Edinburgh Road, in Portsmouth city centre.

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