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aloudervoice Spring 2010 Issue 3

a magazine by young people involved in the Headliners programme

ALSO: | Countdown to Zero | Report from Climate Summit |


aloudervoice contents

Spring 2010

Welcome to the third and last edition of A Louder Voice. Over the past three years with the support of The National Lottery, Headliners has reached out to 1115 young people, giving them the opportunity to raise their voice and speak out about issues and concerns affecting them locally, nationally and globally. We have built successful relationships with over 100 partners, delivering to a diverse range of young people, from care leavers, and teen mums through to young offenders, members of the deaf community and those with disabilities. We’ve worked within the school curriculum, and extended schools provision, to faith communities, and effectively provided work experience programmes to young people not in education, employment or training. The focus has once again been to gather the ideas and creativity generated by the young people and providing them with an outlet to show off (in a good way!) the journalism skills and techniques learnt while on the programmes, coupled with the diverse representation of the young reporters, and their world around them. Not only gaining Open College Network accreditation for their work, the young reporters have learnt how to use professional media equipment, investigate hard hitting stories, interviewed influential politicians, and decisionmakers, and touched on the lighter side of reporting, mixing with the rich and famous. Around 90 per cent of young people from disadvantaged areas said they are now more confident to speak out to others about their concerns and issues. While 86 per cent said they are more aware of what is going on in their communities, and believe they are able to effect change. Through our sustained partnerships Headliners will continue to work with young people across the country, broadcasting and publishing their issues and concerns. The project has been a great success, and I would like to thank everyone involved:- young people, journalists, decision-makers, local authorities, voluntary services, and all those individuals with the passion and belief that all young people have the potential to achieve, and fulfil their goals if they want to.

“Although I’ve done media in the past, I would never have considered journalism before taking part in Headliners. I’m going for an interview today to do a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.” Jelisha Barracks, 18. Thank you National Lottery.

Headliners staff credits:

Journalists: George Gisborne, Lizzie Whyman, Tara Millar, Sam Hepworth, Titi Ige, Samantha Payne (magazine layout), special thanks to Victor Searle Project management: Vivian Smith A Louder Voice is published by Headliners (UK) Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA. Tel: 020 7749 9360, www.headliners.org

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contents Leeds by Example

3

We Can Win This Battle

4

What’s Up With Wardens

6

How Dare You Moan

8

On Yer Bike

9

Sway: Signed, Sealed, Delivered

10

“She punched me seven times”

13

Countdown to Zero

14

Don’t Diss Disability

15

We found out how a festival is helping to develop young musicians Young reporters win the chance to attend the climate change summit in Copenhagen We interview wardens to improve community relations Bradley Callow writes us an opinion piece entitled ‘Two Children Living Two Different Lives’

“If you just want to be in the music scene making money there’s a lot more other jobs that you don’t have to be in the limelight” SWAY

A group from Bexley argue their case for a legal space to ride their bikes Headliners reporters interview international hip hop star - Sway Cathy Garland finds out one girl’s story of being bullied at school

Why are girls starving themselves to be thin? and we discover what well-being means to one young person Young carers tells us their experiences of extra family responsibilities

Headliners is a youth media charity that offers a unique multi-media learningthrough-journalism programme for young people age eight -19. Working in partnership with other organisations we aim to give young people opportunities to undertake real journalism which results in magazines like the one you see. We work with broadcasters and publishers such as the BBC, Sky, ITV and the Guardian to place work we do in the mainstream media. Our aim is to get the views of young people heard by as many people, particularly decision-makers, as possible.

Find out more about us at www.headliners.org Headliners is a registered charity.


Yorkshire

W

Headliners reporters find out how a local festival in South Leeds developing the potential of its young musicians

ith the sun blistering down on the travellers’ backs and half an hour’s trek around run down streets and alleyways, it was finally all made worthwhile when we stepped through the big doorway into Old Chapel Studios. Captivating beats are travelling down the corridor, a catchy bassline draws us in closer to find Minor 4th, a young grime outfit, putting the finishing touches on their latest song.

The drums get louder, Ashley brings in the keys and the MC’s pile in with their chorus with such passion, it knocks us back: “I got talent and I ain’t gonna lose it!” After a blistering rendition of the new track the band, comprising MC’s DG, Mickey

Master T

Left to Right: AC, mentor Cham, Mickey H, Master T & DG

H and bassist/MC Master T and keyboardist A.C, are congratulating each other on the tunes they’ve assembled in two short sessions with their mentor, Cham, who looks over them like a proud father bird having just taught his chicks to fly. The band, all aged 15, have been friends since they started high school but formed the band after they all chose BTEC in Music in Year 10. When they heard of “Local Band Makes Good”, an opportunity for young musicians to hone their craft under the guidance of an experienced mentor, the lads jumped at the chance. The scheme is part of the Leeds City Council funded ‘I Love South Leeds’ festival, one of 22 workshops around

LS10 and LS11 aiming to engage young people in positive activities over the summer.

So what have they learned? “We’ve learned how to properly structure a song,” says DG (aka Dale Grayston).

For A.C (aka Ashley Cheetham), the course was especially challenging.

RIFFS

“When I came in today I had all this stuff to learn straight away,” he tells us, “but I got it and put the chords together with the melody and it just worked out.” “I’ve learned all the chords and the structure of the bass guitar and a few riffs I can

play,” adds Master T (Tawona Chifamba).

We asked their mentor, Cham, how he thought the band had done: “They’ve improved a lot considering we’ve only had four hours rehearsal.”

“They’ve got a lot of talent. All we did was capitalise on them a bit, turn their music into a regular song structure like professional producers would do. We’ve changed the bar counts, and just put a few extra chords and grooves into it. They’re loving it.”

To see the full article visit www.headliners.org

This story was produced by Natalie Cieslik aged 14, Becky McGreavy, aged 14, Charlotte Smith, aged 14 and Hildreth Acheaw, aged 14.

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“ We Can Win This Battle ” Aakash in the press room at the summit

Winning a competition to go to Copenhagen climate summit in was the greatest things that ever happened to Aakash Bharania, 15.

Arriving at the conference on the 12th December, last year, felt like stepping into a whole new world The atmosphere in the Danish capital was so surreal, there were so many different things going on at once; tear gas exploding, speakers inspiring, campaigners bleeding, politicians debating.

The world was focused on one city and I was there, I was a part of it!

Although the outcome of the conference was not what I hoped, I had the chance to interview some very important people.

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“ It’s a matter of ” life and deathJoseph After waiting for more than three hours to find out about further developments in the negotiations, we tracked down UK’s Environment Minister Ed Miliband and demanded some answers. The minister admitted he was ‘very, frustrated’ with the arguments over the process of the talks rather than their actual substance.

Another new experience for me was sitting in the press room. Whilst watching various world leaders debate in the building opposite me, on a huge screen – I sat in food heaven and wrote up two articles.

Just by chance as we left the media room we saw Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives and one of the most influential climate change campaigners at the summit.

It was such a strange experience talking to him. He didn’t feel like he was an important figure. What he said was so passionate, true and real; it was inspiring to think that anyone could be involved in this. A few months ago UK Youth Parliament and Plan UK ran a journalism competition with a chance for two young people to go to Copenhagen and report on the conference, but the whole delegation was made up of young people from Sweden, Indonesia, Kenya, Netherlands and of course the UK.


Europe

Annie

L to R: Aakash, Rose, Ed Miliband, Annie

one of

Here he tells all...

I learnt a lot whilst I was out there and as a result have changed my ambitions in life. Joseph, 12, from Kithyoko, eastern Kenya, was the youngest of the team and the deforestation in his village meant that his education was affected. Whenever there was any wind the dust would get into his classroom and they would choke. He said something to me which I will never forget: “For you it’s a lifestyle change, for me it’s a matter of life and death.”

Two months on and I am still enthusiastic that we can win this battle! I have joined Plan UK’s Youth Advisory Panel so that I can continue to campaign on issues surrounding climate change and hopefully will be at COP in Mexico giving the delegates there a hard time. This article was

written by Aakash Bharania15.

This article was written by Aakash Bharania, 15.

Top Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) minister Ed Miliband had promised to look into youth advisors in his department but admitted plans were still on the drawing board.

Rose Wilson, 16, met the Secretary of State last September and asked if DECC would listen to the views of young people. She said: “I wanted to know why other Government departments and organisations have youth boards but his didn’t.

He said to me: “Yeah, that’s a great idea” but it seemed that progress was a little slow. So I asked him again today and the outcome was the best response to a question I have ever had.

“It’s great news that young people will get a chance to be heard on climate change and I am definitely going to chair that board – I hope!” This story was produced by Aakash Bharania and Annie Pickering

Archbishop Desmond Tutu praised young people for fighting for climate justice in Copenhagen.

The Archbishop, who was at the crucial summit to ensure poorer countries get a fair Desmond Tutu deal, said: "It's great to see so many young people at the summit. They are right especially when it is to say 'this is our world too, something which is caused you elders have made a by human action," he said. mess of things and should The veteran human rights get out of the way'." campaigner had earlier listened to graphic accounts from people who had Fair Deal witnessed first-hand the The 78-year-old Nobel terrible effects of Climate Peace Prize winner also Change. voiced his concern that the proposed two degrees One woman from celsius cap on the average Bangladesh was on the global temperature would brink of tears as she be catastrophic for his described how her home native Africa. was swept away by cyclone Sidr in 2007. "In Africa this would mean an increase of three to four Archbishop Tutu added: "It degrees Celsius - and that's is vital that we listen to hell. We used to have competing voices and act spring, summer, autumn upon them. and winter but now the seasons have become "The disaster is already completely unpredictable, in progress, but we have we are really at the mercy it in our power to end of the heavens. this injustice". "When you don't have food, when you don't have This story was shelter, when you begin to written by Annie suffer from disease such as malaria and cholera, those Pickering are human rights issues,

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What’s up with Young women in Felling, Gateshead quiz Joanne Community wardens are there to reduce anti-social behaviour. As a group we often felt harassed by them for no reason. We invited wardens Joanne Johnson and Andrew Morley to the group with the aim of improving relations and asking them why. What do you get out of the job? A.M : You get to put a lot back into the community and deal with what we call community cohesion, helping everyone to get along. We try to be fair and hear both sides of any story. For example, young people need to play football, but people need to live peacefully in the community too, so we help different groups in the community get along. What are the differences between you and the police? J.J: The police deal with crime and we deal with low-level disorder. We have more of a presence within the community to try and combat anti-social behaviour.

Rules

You have to give young people Wardens Joanne Johnson and Andrew Morley

respect

before you get it back page 6

Do you have standard code of conduct? A.M: Yes, we have standard operating procedures, rules and regulations on how we conduct ourselves professionally, right down to the uniform we wear and health and safety. What do you think of young people? J.J: Well, we’ve all been young. We played football, drank alcohol underage, we’ve done it all ourselves so we do understand. The majority of young people we deal with are great; we have a really good relationship with them. Unfortunately when you come into contact with the same young people who are involved in anti-social behaviour, you have to report this to the housing, police or whoever. There are some young people who you just cannot help and you can’t seem to get through to. We are often in a Catch 22 position because we get complaints about a football game in a no-ball area, we know that young people need to do to do these things. We know you’re just playing. In that instance we suggest other places they can play. How do you deal with drugs and alcohol? J.J: It depends on what drugs you’re talking about. If we come across needles, we have protective gloves and tongs to remove these and dispose of them. If we


north-east

the wardens?

Johnson & Andrew Morley on community relations receive any intelligence about drug use in one of our hotspots, this information gets passed to the police. With regards to alcohol, it depends on the situation. If the drinkers are underage, that’s illegal and we will take measures to prevent young people drinking, for their own safety as well as the safety of others.

Do you think young people respect the wardens? A.M: Yes, most of the time. We have a good relationship with the majority of young people. We’re not here to pick on kids or anyone else but we have a job to do and things to enforce and we try and do that as fairly as we can.

J.J: You have to give the young people respect before you get it back. If you go into a situation all gung-ho, that’s when they would be like that back to you.

We’ve been moved on while sitting on our own wall. Why? A.M: If there are groups hanging around and we get a complaint about it, we have to act because residents might find it intimidating. With groups, the rules are clear. Groups of four or more youths hanging around on the street can be classed as anti-social behaviour. Unfortunately we can’t comment on individual incidents.

Groups of four or more youths hanging around on the street can be classed as anti-social behaviour

Do you think your own attitudes affect young people? A.M: Yes, we do. That’s why we always try to be fair and we give respect and hopefully earn respect. Where are you when we need you? A.M: We have a large area to cover and we target our patrols to where the most phone calls are made. I have been in this area a few times in the last week but there are other hot spot areas with more incidents. We get briefing notes to show where the main hotspots are and where we patrol depends on that.

Complaints

J.J: We need more people to ring us when there’s a problem, otherwise we’re not aware of the incident. People have to help us to help them.

What if we want to make a complaint about a warden? A.M: You can ask for our ID anytime. We have warrant cards, badges and collar numbers. Make a note of these and register complaints through the civic centre.

How many people would you consider a large group? A.M:There are a number of different impact factors, as we call them. It depends on the circumstances: whether it’s dark, night, late, raining, snowing, whether they’re drunk, rowdy, quiet, whether they’re sociable and willing to talk to us. It depends where they are too. We assess these factors when we arrive.

If we as young people made a complaint would we get listened to? J.J: We would definitely take your details down and follow it up. It depends what the allegations were and what the complaint was. A.M: We in no way target youths. Unfortunately we get many calls from residents concerning youths, but we have many other issues to deal with as well.

The young women challenge the wardens

This article was produced by: Carley Bolam, 14, Bethany Codling, 13, Terri Hand, 13, Susan James, 12, Carly Leather, 14, Megan Nicholson, 13, Amy Patterson, 13, Justine Richardon, 12, Chelsea Richardson, 13, Sarah-Jane Walton, 14

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Two Children age 12 Liiving 2 Dif ferent Lives

HOW DARE YOU MOAN By Bradley Callow, 15, from Bexley

H

ow dare you moan when you wake up in the morning to go to school and your favourite breakfast cereal is running low. What is Breakfast? What is waking up? What is school?

What’s it like not knowing if you will live through the night to see the morning. The only lesson you learn is how to stay alive and how to never give up hope as you watch your mother scream as she is being raped, then you stand there and watch your 15-year-old brother scream in agony as he is brutally beaten to death in front of your eyes.

How dare you moan that it’s a warm sunny day outside and you have to wait for a bus. What’s a bus? What’s sunny? What’s it like living in a country where the temperatures will burn your skin in a matter of minutes, but you know you have to walk five miles a day in the searing heat to get a cup of water for you and your family. And if you don’t your mum and baby brother will die and it will be your fault. How dare you moan that it’s your turn to walk to the end of the

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driveway and empty the bins. Others walk, with no shoes and bleeding feet for days through fields full of landmines, rivers of urine and faeces, which often have dead bodies floating in them, just to find a rubbish bin that may provide some scraps and bones that you have to eat to keep you alive.

How dare you moan that it’s hard work to clean your room. What’s a room? What’s work not slavery? What must it be like to not have to go to work everyday for 20 hours a day to earn three pence a week, enough to buy a small cup of rice to feed a family of five people. What must it be like to get beaten so you bleed, have your ribs, fingers and toes broken because you are being slightly slow with your work today due to being so exhausted from only being able to sleep for four hours a day on a cold dirty floor. All this is for one cup of rice to keep your family alive. You are only 12-years-old.

How dare you moan that you and your brother are having an argument over what TV channel you want to watch tonight and what you want to watch tomorrow. What’s a TV? What’s a brother? What’s tomorrow? What must it be like knowing that one night as you sit snuggled up to your mum and brother that a knock will come at the door and your brother will be dragged away by army men to fight for a cause that you are too young to understand. You tell them you don’t want to go, you cry, you scream, you beg them to leave you with your mum, your mum is screaming, your brother too. You have to go with the men, you never see your mum and brother again. You are 12-years-old, lying in a floor curled up in a ball sobbing, so terrified of tomorrow as tomorrow you are going to die!! HOW DARE YOU MOAN.


on YER B I KE ! A group of young people from

Breakthrough

in Bexley, want a space to ride off-road bikes ...so this is

My parents could never afford to buy me a bike, so I saved up and went and bought one mini-moto. Now I’ve got a Suzuki Bandit 1250. How much do bikes cost? – “You can get yourself a good pit bike or mini-bike for around £500 for a decent one. That’s the least you want to spend on a bike. Any cheaper and it’s going fall apart. “

We asked one man in his 60s what he thought about people riding bikes in Bexley. He said: “Normally I would have no problem with that but only if they drive sensibly.” One lady said: “I think bikes are dangerous and they’re just stupid.”

Stolen

However, she understood the frustration that we feel as she sympathised with us as her nephew had his bike stolen and also confiscated by the police. She felt that the police and the council should be helping us work together instead of taking our bikes away. Another question we asked was if it was fair for the police to confiscate bikes when there is no place to ride bikes, one response was: “No, if there is nowhere legally for you to ride and they aren’t helping you to provide a space, then they have no right to take the bikes away from

south-east wouldn’t want it.” We asked him if funding was an issue and if so whether we could work together with council in applying for funding or help to raise money. We wanted him to see that we were really serious and wanted to find a solution. He said: “If we could find a suitable space and even if Bexley Council couldn’t directly get the money there are community groups and youth initiations that you could go to.”

Mr Taylor brought us hope when he said that there might be fields or other open spaces in Bexley that are privately owned. We researched into this and found that Marshes in Slade Green and the Farmers Field in Albany Park would be

their

investigation

We’ve had enough of not being able to ride our bikes anywhere and we need somewhere in Bexley to ride them. Sometimes our bikes get confiscated by the police, or stolen so this article is to show you all out there that riding can be safe, we just need a legal space to ride them. We interviewed Ben from Ben’s Bikes in Belvedere. We asked him about bikes and riding bikes in Bexley. He said: “When I was 14, I bought a mini-moto and I started selling them to my friends.

Are there any places to ride in Bexley? “There’s nowhere in Bexley, but Darftord’s 10 minutes away. It would be good to get a field so kids can drive round but it would be old people complaining about the noise.”

Interviewing the

public

We asked members of the public what they thought about off-road bikes and finding an area for us to ride.

you.” After speaking to quite a few different people, our investigation lead us to Mark Taylor who works for the Parks and Open Spaces department at Bexley Council. We asked him what we had been asking other people about whether he knows of anywhere where we can ride our bikes. “I will be honest with you, most people in principle would like the idea, as it would give young people something to do, but if we then said, it’s going to be in the park next to you - they

ideal to ride our bikes in. After speaking to Mr Taylor, we realised that it isn’t impossible to get a track for around our area. We need to put more work into contacting the right people. Overall there is mixed opinion about getting a bike track in Bexley, but we hope we will get a track. We have applied for the Youth Opportunity Fund to help with this – so fingers crossed!

Story by Jordan Springer, 16, Jack Wells, 16, Jack la Roche, 15, David Bishop, 16 Ryan Duffin 15, Jamie Mulligan, 14.

page 9


Headliners reporters Nyasha McLean, 16, Sam Abe, 16, Mikhail Casalis, 16, and Antonio Akue, 16, caught up with international hip-hop star Sway backstage at a youth event at Arsenal FC.

Headliners: How would you describe yourself and your style?

Sway: I’m a rapper / producer. My main style of music is hip hop meets grime. I’ve done loads of different genres of music. I’ve collaborated with people like the Kaiser Chiefs, Ali Campbell from UB40, Craig David, Jamelia down to RnB stars like Akon. Pretty wide range of different people I’ve worked with.

Headliners: So what are you doing right now?

Sway: I’m currently working on a new album called The Signature 2. I’ve just released a mixtape online on my website; sway.uk.com. It’s called The Delivery. It features Akon,

exclusive tracks from Akon. It features; Styles P, Giggs, Bigz, Mr. Hudson. I’m just giving this away for free to the fans, 27 tracks. All you have to do is type in your email address and you get it for free in a view that people love the music and they help push the album when it’s released. Headliners: So what’s the future for Sway?

Sway: The collaboration that has been in the pipeline forever because the guy is such a huge superstar who’s so busy is Pharrell. I think eventually as I rise and the more popular I get people who already know about me will reach out to me and push me further. Most people I

wanted to work with, I worked with.

Headliners: We saw you on the B.E.T. American TV show; 106 and Park, so how is your success in the U.S.A.? Sway: Within in the industry circles in America people know briefly who I am. They’ve got a lot of tunnel vision in America in that they don’t like to see outside of what’s in front of them. It hasn’t really been them coming over and seeking the talent so with that in mind I’m still working on a lot of stuff in the U.K. Being signed to Akon’s music label Konvict Music which happened for me just over a year ago has really opened the doors because I’ve been able to meet so many great people, really they’ve got a lot of belief in me.


“ If You Feel As Though You Want The World To Hear Your Talent That’s When You Pursue Yourself As An Artist” SWAY A lot of people are like; “oh Sway you signed to Konvict a year ago but were not seeing you on the billboard charts in America.” That’s because these things take time, there’s a roster of people in front of you that need to come out first. At the time I got signed Lady GaGa was just some girl that had been dropped from another label and Akon was like; “you know what I want to do a joint venture with her, I don’t think you guys should drop her.” Look at the time it’s taken her to get where she is, she’s had like five record deals! Sometimes the music industry is about trial and

page 12

London error, you will make it eventually. You have someone like Tinchy Stryder, who is 24 now, started when he was 15. Tinchy Stryder was with Roll Deep, then he was rolling with Dizzee Rascal for a bit, then he was with Wiley. He kept going, kept going. There was probably a point in his career where he thought this ain’t gonna happen for me but he kept going to the point of where his talent was undeniable. It’s all about a game of luck. The more you play lottery, the more there’s a chance of actually winning. Headliners: What would be your advice to young, up and coming artists?

My advice to young and up and coming artists trying to breakthrough would be that some people really love the music and they assume that if they want to get in the music industry they have to be the rapper, they have to be the artist, they have to be the star. If you’re in it for the money it’s not always the best thing to be the star because the star doesn’t always get the most money. The accountants, or the managers or the lawyers, the people behind the scenes that are getting most of the money. So if you’ve really got

Sway with reporters Nyasha, Sam, Antonio and Mikhail

Sam & Antonio a talent for music and you feel as though you want the world to hear your talent, that’s when you pursue yourself as an artist. But if you just want to be in the music scene making money and driving fast cars, there’s a lot more other jobs that you don’t have to be in limelight.

If you’re not talented you don’t have to embarrass yourself, you can just be in an office working on a project that you believe in. It’s not always about being a star in the industry. Being signed to Akon’s label, when you first picked up the mic did you ever think you would go this far?

When I first picked up the mic it was for fun. I wanted to be a record producer. I wanted to be a big time record producer that signed other people. I never really had the vision of being the rapper or being at the forefront of a movement, which just happened out of me not having anyone around who rapped the way I wanted to hear rap. That’s why I decided to rap myself. I decided to test myself by going out to open mics. If

you have your friends around you, your friends don’t want to hurt your feelings because there your friends. So when you’re rapping to your friends they might be like; “this is crazy!”. Even if you’re half decent they want you to be good so they would tell you that you’re good even when you might not be ready. So always the best thing to do is to enter open mic competitions to get a different reaction to what your friends give you. If it’s the same reaction that your friends give you then you’re on a winning streak, you know you’ve got something. I had to go out there and test myself. I had to get knockbacks, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been booed before. I’ve been booed, I’ve been cheered. This is the process that it takes so you can become someone who then enters the mainstream and be a respected artist that everyone listens to. This story was produced by Nyasha McLean, 16, Sam Abe, 16, Mikhail Casalis, 16, and Antonio Akue, 16, from Headliners, a journalism programme for young people aged eight to 19. www.headliners.org


She punched me seven times M

y story started in primary school. There were a couple of boys that used to push me to the floor and make fun of my stutter. This carried on for a long time and they did it daily. I moved house the same year so I was moved into a different school.

I thought it would be a nice new start but I was wrong. The girls in my year used to call me names like 'slut', and 'lanky' due to my height. They were meant to be my friends but they abused my trust. The boys in my school used to trip me up while I was running and chuck paper balls at me. This carried on through year three and year four. I had to move because it became so bad. I moved to another primary school again and was lucky not to get bullied throughout years four to six. In year seven I started smoking as all my friends did it and peer pressure kicked in. This was

Ò

the start of the bullying and also because the school was an all girl school people started spreading rumours about me saying I was a lesbian and used to stick chewing gum in my hair. One day I was walking to the bus stop with these other girls that were meant to be my friends and we were having a joke calling each other names. The next day everyone gathered round me and one of the girls was trying to make me slap her.

Excluded

I refused, I didn't want to resort to violence but she started punching me so I slapped her back. When I broke free, I ran away and when they found me again I got excluded for three days from school while the other girl only got excluded for one day. After a couple of years I left school and went to another one. When my friends found out I was moving house and moving school they threatened to beat me up. When I went out

south-east

Recent statistics from the NSPCC show more than a third of children experience bullying by their peers during childhood. Louisa, 16, tells reporter Cathy Garland her experience of being bullied at school.

with my new friends I bumped into some of the girls from my old secondary school.

Rumours

One girl told the people I was with that I was spreading rumours about her, which was untrue. I defended myself but she kept calling me racist and talked about my mum being with a black man. She then punched me in the face seven times almost breaking my nose. I called the police after this and now she has got a criminal record. During my time at my new school I didn't really get bullied but things continued to happen at my previous school. They made a website about me being a racist, which I thought was stupid because I have half sisters that are mixed race and I complained to the police who found out who was involved. All of this affected me because at the end of the day it proves that it can make someone ill. If you cannot trust your friends you learn not to trust anyone and you rely on yourself and

take on the feeling of hatred and loneliness and other feelings that surround being bullied. This is why people go to counselling because they become stressed and emotional. This disturbs their mental health and makes them ill and leads people to drastic measures like suicide. Bromley Council was asked how it dealt with bullying in schools across the borough. A council spokesman said: “Bromley Council is committed to working in partnership with schools to ensure that children and young people enjoy a safe environment in which they remain free from physical or emotional harm, harassment, victimisation or ridicule from others.

“All schools are legally required to have anti-bullying policies and procedures in place.”

Where to go for advice and information

childline 0800 1111 www.childline.org.uk www.nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk www.kidscape.org.uk

page 13


Countdown to zer0

north-east

by Bethany Codling, 13, Terri Hand, 13, and Justine Richardson, 12, from Felling, Gateshead, Newcastle

Health is more important than looking thin

Girls feel under pressure to be thin

All over the world girls are starving themselves to be thin. Why? Because everything we see in the media tells us that thinness equals beauty and success.

The term Size Zero was invented to fit a new breed of dangerously thin actresses and models and is the equivalent to a UK size 4. Size Zero was banned at the Madrid Fashion Week after the deaths of several models. Each died of eating-related disorders and had a body mass index (BMI) of under 16. A person’s BMI is calculated by considering their height and weight. For adults an ideal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, anything below is classed as underweight. We believe that the pressure to be thin comes from famous role models and affects the way that young women view themselves. Nicky, 13, said: “I buy celebrity magazines every week and there is so much stuff about being thin in there. I try to ignore it but maybe it affects you without you knowing it.”

Megan, 13, said: ”There are loads of issues with weight with girls. I think everyone our age knows someone with an eating disorder.” Our advice is: Read the celebrity magazines if you want, but understand that health is more important than looking thin. Celebrities have the money to spend on personal trainers and special chefs. Most of us will never have that luxury.

the pressure to be thin comes from these role models and affects the way that young women view themselves.

Midlands

from Walsall, Birmingham

“ YOUNG PEOPLE need to be more aware of the importance of well- Ibeing “

page 14

“ Socialising iS A KEY factor...”


Don’t diss disability north-east

by Carly Leather, 14, and Amy Patterson, 13

Young carers tell us what it’s like being a young person with extra family responsibilities The media’s portrayal of young people is often negative, failing to recognise the thousands of young people across the UK who are doing great things. Many young people not only have the usual worries of being a teenager but they also care for family members who need their help. The 2001 Census indicated that there are 175,000 young carers aged under 18 in the UK. However, a poll commissioned by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in 2004 indicated that the number of young carers may be much higher. Disability is something that never gets talked about, especially when young people don’t consider themselves carers because they love their relatives.

Carly Leather, 14, and her two brothers who are 12 and 15, care for their nanna who has arthritis in her legs. Carly said: “Sometimes I want to go out but before I do I have to do the housework. After school I can sometimes be in a mood anyway and when I’m asked to do stuff that my friends don’t have to do, I get annoyed.”

love someone then If you

you want to

help them Natalie, 14

Carly’s duties include cleaning, going shopping and taking the dog out: “I also hoover, polish and do the dishes, things like that.” She doesn’t resent the situation though: “I hardly ever go out anyway so it’s not too much of a problem. I wouldn’t complain about the situation because it’s an

experience and makes me who I am.” Another carer Natalie, 14, said: “I am the oldest of seven children so I help with housework mostly and I pick the younger ones up from school. I don’t consider myself to have it harder than any of my friends. If you love someone then you want to help them out don’t you?” Carly admits that being a carer can make you more aware of the possibility of having a disability yourself: “I sometimes worry about getting arthritis. I don’t want to be disabled.” Fortunately there are organisations that can help young carers to let their hair down once in a while. Carly got in touch with Young Carers when she was younger. “They are a very supportive and welcoming group”, she said, “I go on trips with them and get out on weekends. I went to the York Dungeons, skiing and did some courses with them. They take you on weekends and residentials and I get to have a break from my responsibilities, see new places and learn new things.” “I don’t complain about my situation”, said Carly, “but I would like people to talk about disability more. By doing so people would understand it more and the care that goes into looking after someone.”

I wouldn’t complain about the situation because it’s an experience and IT makes me who

I am

From one carer to another... Carly’s advice

- Respect the disabled - Understand where the disabled are coming from, consider their feelings - Making friends with people in similar situations can help your social life

- Organisations are on the phone to help if you need advice or support

Crossroads is Britain's leading provider of support for carers and those they care for. 01207 549 780 page 15


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