Fylde coast parents invited to anti-bullying events by campaigner Norry

Tracy Coxey (left),  secretary of MADD, with MADD chairman and events coordinator, Michelle Atherton
Tracy Coxey (left), secretary of MADD, with MADD chairman and events coordinator, Michelle Atherton

The scourge of bullying in schools is being tackled by a Blackpool-based campaign - and now it is being stepped up further with two forthcoming events.

Norry Ascroft, a Blackpool entertainer best known in the resort as DJ Lionel Vinyl and also a trained human behaviour expert, set up the Making A Direct Difference (MADD) last year after being deeply moved by the tragic case of a bullied teenage girl who committed suicide.

Andy Pilley (left) with Norry Ascroft, founder of MADD

Andy Pilley (left) with Norry Ascroft, founder of MADD

MADD is an online teacher-training programme and has so far been rolled out to more than 200 schools across the North West, including North Wales.

Now, with the help of supporters who are part of the MADD team, he is holding a presentation, on two separate dates, in which he will talk about bullying issues and how the MADD project works, as well as taking questions from members of the public.

The two sessions have been organised by Norry and MADD's chairman and activities coordinator, Michelle Atherton

The TAB (Truth about Bullying) sessions take place at Rossall School, Fleetwood, on Saturday September 7 and at the Ashley Club, Victoria East, Thornton, on Sunday September 8, both beginning at 1pm, and children and their parents and relatives, as well as teachers, are welcome to attend.

Michelle said: "The sad thing about bullying is that it takes away the confidence of young victims and that can sometimes affect them all their lives.

"It can even make them less confident about applying for jobs.

"But one of the keys to stopping bullying is to find the root causes of it and why the perpetrators are doing it.

"The theme behind MADD is the truth about bullying - helping to train teachers up so they can understand what is going on with the bullies, so they intercept the problem and hopefully nip it in the bud."

Although MADD is not being directed solely at Blackpool and the Fylde coast, the issue of bullying in the resort was highlighted in a report by the Oxford Home Schooling group which looked at the lastest Department of Education figures.

The statistics showed that in 2017/8, the number of children excluded for bullying in Blackpool schools had tripled compared to the year before.

Michelle added: "Those figures would only be the tip of the iceberg, in which the children being bullied had the courage to speak up about it.

"Many bullying victims don't because they are scared it will only get worse."

The MADD programme costs £100 per school, but Norry has been given funding support to pay for it by Fleetwood-based form BES Utilities, the company owned by Fleetwood Town FC chairman Andy Pilley, and Blackpool-based firm Card Saver, totalling £30,000.

The aim is to grow the scheme to the point that it becomes self-funding, allowing MADD to expand the range of courses available.

Both the public events are free to attend, with no tickets needed.