Teenager recognised for anti-bullying campaign

A STUDENT from Portsmouth College has received the prestigious '˜Diana Award' for his dedication to tackle bullying in schools.

Monday, 30th July 2018, 8:14 pm
Updated Monday, 30th July 2018, 8:27 pm

Budding entrepreneur, Keiran O'Toole, 18, was awarded the accolade for using his business success to fund anti-bullying programmes in Portsmouth schools.

Two years ago Keiran set up his business enterprise, Rock Clothing, which uses money from product 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 subsidise anti-bullying workshops in schools,' explained Keiran.  

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The teenager was inspired to set up the initiative after his own experience of being bullied 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 with the support of Unloc Enterprise Academy '“ an organisation who supports young people to establish sustainable community based business initiatives. 

'˜One of the directors at Unloc really believed in me and gave me the confidence to set up Rock Clothing,' said Keiran.

'˜The enterprise has gone from strength to strength and has subsidise the '˜Anti-bullying Ambassador' scheme we have established in a number of local schools. We train young people to become '˜catalysts for change' in helping to stop bullying,' added Keiran.

The programme involves educating young people to understand the impacts of bullying and train pupils to listen to their peers and provide support to 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 School and King Richard 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. 

'˜The 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 accolade anyone under 18 can receive.