AN anti-bullying project formerly facing an uncertain future after coming under fire is gearing up for a relaunch.
Teenager Callum Carr was dismayed after the not-for-profit organisation he set up in 2013, South Tyneside Against Bullying, was criticised by South Tyneside Council.
I’m glad I didn’t hand it over. We have all worked really hard to address the council’s concerns.Callum Carr, South Tyneside Against Bullying
The local authority voiced concerns over the group’s structure, governance and financial management.
Those misgivings led to the group losing its office.
Six months on, volunteers are now looking to the future, with a relaunch being planned within months.
Callum said: “A few months ago, I said I would hand it over to someone else because of all the negativity I felt we were getting from the council.
“We had approached them for advice and support.
“I’m glad I didn’t hand it over. We have all worked really hard to address the council’s concerns.
“The project is expected to re-launch in August, with new support networks including a 24-7 live chat support system on the website, as well as an improved 24-7 helpline number.
“Our team will offer personal advice to anyone in crisis.”
The project is currently looking for a new base to operate from.
A spokesperson for the council said: “Bullying can cause misery and blight young lives and is an issue that we take extremely seriously.
“We have met with this group, and although we support the principle of the organisation, we did raise a number of concerns about the way it was operating.
“Our concerns included the group’s structure, governance and financial management, as well as the way in which it safeguards young people and their personal data.
“We highlighted some areas where improvements could be made, and it is encouraging that the group appears to be taking these on board.
“As a safeguarding authority, we already work with a number of third-sector organisations who offer counselling on emotional resilience and wellbeing, and our healthy schools initiative puts emotional health and wellbeing, including bullying, firmly on school agendas.”