Helping victims of bullying
STUDENT Oli Watts has been declared a "local hero" for the website he set up to help schoolchildren who are the victims of bullying.Now at college in Colchester, Oli, 17, from Hadleigh, set up his pupiline.
STUDENT Oli Watts has been declared a "local hero" for the website he set up to help schoolchildren who are the victims of bullying.
Now at college in Colchester, Oli, 17, from Hadleigh, set up his pupiline.net website in February 2000 after suffering three years of bullying from the time he was 12, which left him so distressed he became afraid to leave his house and eventually changed schools.
He has just been named "local hero" for April in a national campaign run by Reader's Digest.
Originally, he managed the website from home, and concentrated solely on the issue of bullying.
Oli said he was particularly proud of how one girl, who had been bullied so much she took an overdose, was inundated with messages of support after she pleaded for help on the website.
He said: "Two weeks after, she wrote back saying that because of pupiline she was back at school and everything was fine. It's all about support rather than prescriptive advice."
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Two years on, the site has its own office in Ipswich and is now run by a team of young volunteers under the philosophy of "for us, by us".
The website receives around 1,000 visitors a day and has been expanded to offer advice on coping with everything from epilepsy to exam stress.
Visitors can chat and share their experiences with other children online and can find out about professional organisations to help with their problems.
Local Heroes is a national campaign to applaud people who have done extraordinary things.