The Vamps’ James McVey, football legend Rio Ferdinand and YouTuber Marcus Butler are just some of the famous faces that have joined forces to support a new anti-bullying campaign.
Launched today, #Back2School is supported by The Diana Award initiative and aims to offer “help and advice to young people who are worried about returning to school because of bullying”. Using the hashtag, people are encouraged to speak out about bullying and open up about their experiences. You can also share a picture from your school days, whether past or present, and offer advice to others.
The campaign coincides with 10 million children going back to school in September in the UK. To kick-start the campaign, a whole host of celebrities have opened up about their experiences of being bullied at school.
James McVey announced his involvement in the campaign a few weeks ago, however, today #Back2School unveiled a video of The Vamps star opening up about his bullying experience.
He revealed that he was threatened and punched in the stomach the corridor. “One of them said he would kill me and cut me up. I found that really, really difficult to deal with… In hindsight to them, they probably didn’t see it as that big of a deal… But to me, at the receiving end of that, it was quite traumatic. It made that time at school really really difficult,” he said.
Giving his back to school advice, he said: “Be confident within yourself – but if you do witness bullying… make sure that you let someone else know. It’s really, really important to tackle it in the early stages.”
Footballer Rio Ferdinand also spoke about his bullying experiences for #Back2School. He said “I got racist abuse growing up…. It got me upset, I was angry… I’ve got young kids now- 9, 7 and 5- I don’t want to see them being bullied, but I also stress to them I don’t want to see you bullying anyone… I would have made a great Anti-Bullying Ambassador.”
YouTuber Marcus Butler also opened up about his experience of being bullied. “When I was in year 7, there was this kid who was in year 11, every time I used to walk past him in the corridor, or in the toilets or anything, he’d either trip me up or push me into lockers, or push me down the stairs. I never knew why and I never did anything about it – I just waited for him to leave school as he was in year 11, and then I was like ‘oh, he’s never going to pick on me again’.”
He also revealed that he was bullied for doing gymnastics at school, which eventually led to him quitting the sport, something of which he now regrets. “If you enjoy doing something, and you’re good at it, you shouldn’t stop it for any reason other than yourself making that decision. Someone else made that decision for me. Only stop if you actually do want to stop,” he said.
Other celebrities backing the #Back2School initiative include Hollywood actor Will Poulter, Diversity’s Ashley Banjo, Emmerdale star Gemma Oaten, and singer Jessie J.
Bullying continues to be a serious issue in schools, and can have a lasting effect on those who have been bullied. According to The Diana Award, almost two thirds of people who were bullied at school face a lasting impact on their confidence and self esteem.
A survey conducted by YouGov, which was commissioned by the charity, also revealed that 35% of those bullied said it negatively affected their ability to trust other people.
Bullying doesn’t stop at school either – around 35% believed that bullying behaviour was happening in their current place of work. It was also revealed that over half of adults – 56% – are said to have experienced bullying at school.
Alex Holmes, the head of the Diana Award Anti-Bullying Campaign, said: “School should be safe and free from bullying. We’re urging everyone to get behind our campaign by helping us to train Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in schools.”
For more information on the campaign, head to the AntiBullyingPro website. You can also get involved with the campaign on social media by tracking the #Back2School hashtag.
Let us know if you’ll be getting involved with the initiative – tweet us @CelebMixCares.