Trendsetters is a project run by Scope for young disabled people.
We’re all individuals but have become Trendsetters to share information and ideas. We talk about good and bad things that are happening in our lives and have lots of fun!
It’s the end of the Trendsetters project, but we hope it’s just the start of something new!
In 2009 we spoke with a lot of young disabled people who told us about their experiences. Some felt isolated, some lacked confidence, and some felt that other people didn’t understand their situation. We felt that there was an opportunity for Scope and young people to work together. We met with a group of young people to discuss some ideas. They said they wanted to create and share information for themselves and other young disabled people, and to talk to each other. This was the start of Trendsetters.
What we did.
Trendsetters have achieved lots during the course of the project. We’ve made lots of films, for example, on bullying, a ‘day in the life of’ a young person, team work, and accessibility. Together we’ve created postcards about cerebral palsy, and confidence and self-esteem. It’s been great meeting each other, talking about stuff, sharing information, having a laugh, making new friends and eating pizzas!
Sadly, the Trendsetters project has now finished. It’s been great getting to know you all. We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who has been involved, particularly the committed and enthusiastic young people who came to the workshops and created the information and content on the website. We’re really keen to stay in touch with everyone.
We’ll be working with young campaigners: you can share your story with us, write a blog, volunteer or help out at our events. Get in touch soon!
Jhon is from Leicester. He’s really passionate about making his voice heard and making a difference for disabled people. Jhon has shared his story as part of our 100 Days, 100 Stories campaign.
Please note this video flickers slightly at points.
When I was younger I wanted to be a doctor as I wanted to help people with disabilities, like my own. When I was about 11 or 12 I stated to become interested in politics because I wanted to get young people’s voices heard, and particularly young disabled people. This is something I’m really passionate about as I sometimes felt ignored as a disabled person.
Not only did I want my voice to be heard, I wanted everyone else’s voices to be heard too.
I’ve already started thinking about how I’m going to achieve this. I know that qualifications are important and I’ve been looking at universities and what qualifications I need to get on to the right course.
I know that I need to be well rounded and I’m trying to get experience, because universities want people who are passionate and committed. I’ve worked with lots of different organisations and charities. Scope were really helpful because I was able to be a Trendsetter and shape the way they work with young people. This has really helped me improve my confidence.
I’ve been speaking to as many people as I can to get as much experience and information as possible. I’ve achieved quite a lot so far and have spoken at Parliament a few times, which was an amazing experience. It helped me to develop my communication skills which are really important.
I’m determined to do the best that I can in my A-Levels and university and continue to gain more experience in politics, which will help me achieve my goals.
If you’re a young person looking for a job or to make a change in the world, my advice would be to make a plan, speak to people, don’t be frightened, and have fun!
This week is national Anti-Bullying Week, and this year’s theme is disability-related bullying.
Research by the Institute for Education shows that disabled children are twice as likely as other children to experience persistent bullying. This can take many forms including physical abuse, name-calling and cyberbullying.
Jack is doing an apprenticeship and is also possibly the only disabled mixed martial arts fighter in the UK – but part of the reason he took up the sport was as relief from the bullying he experienced at school.
“It started in year eight. Words like ‘spastic’ were thrown around at me and those words got me into trouble at school, because I wouldn’t stand for it.
“It was hard. I don’t want any kids, disabled or not, to go through it, because it was horrible.”
Boxing training helped put things into perspective.
“Over the course of a couple of months, I realised that I just needed to chill out. There are going to be people in the world that are just idiots, they have no idea what they’re on about, they throw the word [spastic] round like it’s funny, and it’s not.
“But then, I’ve got friends and family who support me 100 percent, so I just forget about it.”
Rebecca, a youth ambassador for Ambitious about Autism, says she faced bullying from her first years at primary school.
“I remember people saying mean things to me, and I was always left out of friendship groups because I acted differently,” she says.
“I moved schools several times to try and get away from the hate I received, but it followed me everywhere I went. On the school bus I got hit, pushed and verbally abused so I ended up having to walk, and even then the bullies followed me.
“Other students called me weird, loner, freak, fat and ugly, which was one of the hardest things. People say words don’t hurt but they do, and they can have a long-lasting negative effect.”
What to do
The Anti-Bullying Alliance has put together a list of top tips for parents who find out their child is being bullied. Here are a few of them:
Don’t panic. Stay calm, try to listen, and reassure them that you are there to support them, and things will get better once action is taken.
Try to establish the facts. It can be helpful to keep a diary of events to share with your child’s school or college.
Stress that the bullying is not their fault, and that you will not take any action without discussing it with them first.
Don’t encourage retaliation to bullying, such as violence. It’s important to avoid hitting or punching an abusive peer.
Discuss the situation with your child’s teacher or Head teacher – or the lead adult wherever the bullying is taking place. Every child has a right to a safe environment in which to learn and play. Schools should have a behaviour policy which sets out the measures that will be taken to prevent all forms of bullying between pupils.
And what if you’re a young person experiencing bullying? Rebecca says: “The most important advice I’d give to other young people with autism who are being bullied is to not let people bring you down.
“Don’t let them hurt you. Speak up and ensure your teachers and parents actually deal with it. It can be hard to confide in someone, but when you do it can release a lot of weight that may be on your shoulders. Bullies are just jealous of how awesome we are!”
We caught up with the Trendsetter who made the video to find out how things are going now.
Your film has had around 9,000 views so far. How do you feel about this?
It amazes me that we’ve had over 9,000 views of the film. I don’t think any of us expected the response to be this great, especially as there was nothing that we could find on the internet about disability bullying.
You mentioned in the past that you wrote about your feelings. Was this helpful in dealing with the experience of bullying?
The poetry I write helps me deal with what happened to an extent. It was very useful when talking to the guy at school because I found it really hard to just talk about the bullying at first, so knowing he already knew took the pressure off me a bit.
Might other young people find this helpful, especially if they haven’t got someone they can easily confide in?
It can be really helpful to write about how you are feeling, but it will only get better if you tell someone, whether that’s a friend, a teacher or your parents.
What would you say to teachers about bullying?
If you are a teacher witnessing bullying don’t just stand there, actually do something to stop it, but in a way that is not going make it worse for the victim.
Trendsetters is a project run by Scope for young disabled people.
Anti-Bullying Week calls on children and young people to take the lead in creating a future without bullying – using new technology to promote positive communication rather than being held back by cyber bullying.
Bullying is something that many of Scope’s Trendsetters, a group of disabled young people, say they’ve experienced.
We ran a workshop with the group about bullying this summer.
Bullying causes bad feelings. We threw these into a bin.
One Trendsetter wanted to use technology to share her experience of being bullied. She wanted to send out a positive message about stopping bullying by creating this short film on bullying.
Her message is: “If you are being bullied, or know someone who is, tell someone.”
Do you need someone to talk to?
ChildLine – 0800 11 11
ChildLine is a free, confidential support service. Their staff speak to thousands of young people every day – you are not alone. Phone 0800 11 11 or visit the ChildLine website.
BeatBullying online help
Guest blog by Trendsetter Connor who is 16. Trendsetters is a project run by Scope for young disabled people. As it’s Halloween this week, he’s written a blog to tell us why he wants to be a ghost hunter.
I want to be a ghost hunter because I am interested in the paranormal. When I was three years old, I was walking into the bathroom and looked back and there was a figure stood in my bathroom. Then I looked back again and it was gone.
I definitely believe in ghosts because every house I’ve lived in, I’ve had strange experiences.
I’m really interested in the history of ghost hunting, scientists started trying to record ghosts as far back as 1933.
Halloween is on the 31 October and is the perfect time to do some ghost hunting. You could use things like a torch or a camera to try and see a ghost.
This Halloween why don’t you try and get into the spirit of things? How about these fun ways to get involved:
Get dressed up. You could try a spooky costume or a costume you think is fun.
You and your friends could try telling each other some scary stories with a small prize for the scariest.
Ask an adult to help you make some super-scarey food. Put some gummy worms in jelly for some ghostly ectoplasm (that’s the stuff ghosts leave behind).
Let me know what you are doing for Halloween in the comments box.
Anna, Harry’s mum, talks about how they came up with the idea for Harry’s cards, and the benefits he has found using them.
“After chatting with him about what to do, we came up with the idea of a set of small cards designed just for him, about him. Each card would have a question and a simple answer to that question. To make them personal we picked a photograph or picture that meant something to Harry.”
In Harry’s own words…
“I came up with the idea when people started asking me “why do you talk funny?” and “what is epilepsy?” so instead of trying to explain it I made these cards and gave them one. It has the question on the front and the answer on the back. They are my very own as they are about me and have a photograph of me on them as well. They help me.”
Anna continues, “We had them designed and sets printed. They are business-card size and a set of them can be kept in a little plastic box. Now when Harry is asked or even if he wants to volunteer the information, he can simply hand over a set and let people read. They also act as a good ice breaker and support in other discussions on cerebral palsy.
“He has presented them in his class and sets of them are available at his school, they are small enough to carry around in his bag or even his pocket. They can over time be added to and changed as Harry grows and develops.
“A simple idea but one which has proved to be very useful in removing the ‘elephant in the room’ (discussing his condition).”
The Trendsetters group of young disabled people spent the day with a team from Advocreate sharing ideas using mime, sound, speeches, poems and even a bit of rapping! They were given the task of helping a wannabe actor ‘Dayo’ overcome different obstacles on his way to an audition.
He has no money to buy a costume
He has a problem with his dad
He doesn’t believe he’s good enough to audition
He’s nervous about joining a drama class in his community
He gets told the drama class is full because someone is worried he’ll be better than them
Someone at the drama class suggests he’s ‘different’
Scope has been working with Manchester Metropolitan University to think about the kinds of things, like people and experiences, that can help you lead the life you want to lead. It’s great to be assertive, but you don’t have to always rely on just yourself. Advocreate took some of these ideas and turned the workshop into a few hours of fun ‘creative advocacy’.
So much was talked about on the day, the Trendsetters thought we could share some of the discussion in a short guide on this website. We’ll use photos to explain some of the ideas about what can help someone lead the life they want to lead and you’ll find out whether Dayo made it to the audition…
If you would like to come to next year’s workshop, you need to be a Trendsetter .Find out how to join Trendsetters here.
The day after Kayne and I appeared in the BBC1 programme, Racing with the Hamiltons, I was a bit late for school so my Nan said, “Let’s catch the bus.”
The first Bus Driver wouldn’t let us on and wagged his finger at us. We are used to this and I had discussed my experience of bus drivers’ attitudes with Nic Hamilton on the TV programme the night before.
My Nan stormed away with steam coming out of her ears. Then a bus hooted behind and pulled up beside us. The bus was ‘out of service’ and the Bus Driver called out to us: “Where are you going?”
I said, “To school.”
He said, “OK, I’ll drop you off – I am going to change your opinion of bus drivers.”
Although the bus stop is near the school, he drove right down to literally outside the school gates – he had obviously seen the programme!!