Students become Anti-Bullying Ambassadors with help from Starbucks

The Peer Support Team celebrate their Anti-Bullying Ambassador success

Students at Hereward College in Tile Hill have been celebrating after receiving a grant from Starbucks Youth Action to further enhance their peer-led anti-bullying scheme.

The Peer Support Team (PST), a group of volunteer students who support Hereward’s first year cohort to make a successful transition into college life, have received over £1500 in funding from the Starbucks initiative, enabling them to arrange a special visit from The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Training Team. The two-day course has allowed the group to improve their knowledge of best practice in a step towards becoming part of the National Anti-Bullying Ambassadors (ABA) network.

The continual improvement of such practice is vitally important, as research suggests; 82% of children with a learning disability are bullied and 79% are scared to go out because they are frightened they might be bullied, a 2007 survey by leading disability charity, Mencap, revealed. With the help of the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors Programme, the PST have increased their confidence and are further empowered to tackle bullying, utilising tactics to make bullying ‘un-cool’ and help change the behaviours and attitudes of students and the college as a whole.

The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Ambassadors Programme work in partnership with the Department for Education and to date have trained over 5,000 young people from across the United Kingdom to be Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.Hereward students are already affiliated with The Diana Award after winning their Anti-Bullying Champion category in 2013.

Student feedback reinforced the positives of the training. New PST member Claire Shirley said: “I felt the training was very inspiring. As a new Peer Supporter I already feel part of the team and very motivated to help stop bullying. The training will help me at college and for life.”

Member Warren Fletcher was also inspired: “The training was very helpful. It gave us the skills we need in order to deal with bullying – confidence, listening and communication. I feel that I now know what to do to reduce bullying.”

Staff PST Co-ordinator Cyntia G Laycy said: “The training brought in new ideas and helped to consolidate the anti-bullying strategies already in place, while also adding inspiration and commitment, empowering students to become a vital part of the process. It was amazing to see how enthusiastic and motivated the team is to promote anti-bullying and positive action within the college, and to continue to raise student and staff awareness regarding bullying and safety issues. We are all very grateful to Starbucks for giving us this amazing opportunity.”

Following the training, efforts are now being focused toward utilising the rest of the money granted by Starbucks Youth Action, with the production of a student film to showcase all of their anti-bullying work.