Who are the Bullybusters Team and what do you do?
Our team is made up of two project workers - Natalie and Sherrell.
What is the aim of Bullybusters?
Our aim is to support anyone who’s affected by bullying, whether that be through raising awareness of the effects of bullying, giving young people the skills to keep themselves and each other safe, or by providing support to parents and carers worried about their child.
Although our primary focus is schools, we provide the service wherever there are young people - that means any organisation with a youth provision can benefit from the service. We strive to prevent crises by getting into schools to run sessions before we get a call about an incident.
What do you do?
Our main work is attending schools to run workshops and sessions with the young people about bullying, its effects and how to recognise negative behaviours. We also attend other organisations that support young people and run sessions for parents and professionals.
We run the Bullybusters Helpline every weekday from 3-6pm. The helpline is for anyone who’s affected by bullying, whether it be a young person needing someone to talk to, a parent looking for advice or schools looking for help resolving situations.
When we are contacted about a crisis, we aim to work with all involved.
A big part of this is to work with those who have been accused of bullying. This aims to help them recognise their own negative behaviour and the effect that it is having on the people around them.
We do a lot of work on how to challenge negative behaviour. Our approach differs depending on the age of the young people we work with. One of our common approaches is our ‘Safe Hands’ concept, where we ask young people to identify five people they can go to if something ever happened.
Another method we use is to work with adults to encourage them to really listen when a child or young person says something is going on. To make sure the young people and adults we work with are all on the same page, we run sessions for professionals and parents where we share these key messages.
What is Anti-Bullying week?
Anti-Bullying Week is a national event, it’s organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance. The theme for the week this year is ‘Change Starts With Us’. We’ll be challenging the young people we work with to think about what changes they can make to create a safer environment for everyone. What change could you make to make your day or someone else’s day better? It might be a smile, it might be holding a door for someone, or asking the person sitting on their own if they are ok. We want them to think through who will benefit from the change they make.
We have lots going on during the week. We’ll be doing rallies in schools across Liverpool Sefton and Knowsley, visiting 4 or 5 schools every day. We will also be running conferences for schools to all come together for an interactive session with us. We love these sessions, they’re great for engaging with the young people and getting a sense of what problems they are facing.
What’s this we hear about wearing Odd Socks?
During Anti-Bullying Week we’ll be celebrating Odd Socks day - It’s a day all about embracing our differences and celebrating our individuality.
Odd socks seem different but when you think about it they aren’t, they’re both doing the same thing, they both go on your feet and keep your feet warm. This applies to all of us, we all have things that make us individual but at the same time we have more in common than you think.
Bullybusters is now in its 15th year, how has it developed over the years?
Over the years we have seen a huge change in the types of bullying, especially with the development of technology. Adapting to all the changes is challenging but we take a lot of guidance from the young people that we work with. The young people are our biggest teachers.
Our sessions can be very young person led. If an issue arises whilst we’re delivering a session with the young people we ‘drop and roll’ to cover that topic because the aim is really for them to get the best out of the session.
We reach many more children now as schools are much more aware of us and we do more regular work with schools, rather than just reacting to problems arising. To recognise our 15th year we’ll be having a little bit of a ‘birthday bash’ in the office, where everyone will be wearing odd socks.
What are your plans after Anti-Bullying week?
It will be a very busy week and we’ll have probably lost our voices by the end of it, so we’ll be having a very relaxed weekend. As a team, when we are back in work, we’ll be getting in touch with the schools and arrange visits in the next few months to chat with the young people to see how changes they’ve made have affected them.
To find out more about the work of Bullybusters, please visit their website.