Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2015: Alex Holmes, Anti-bullying Campaigner

 

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As one of the only mixed race students at his school in Milton Keynes, Alex Holmes suffered taunts and bullying.

He says: “There was racist bullying and I was a bit of a geek, putting my hand up in class, so they didn’t like that either. I’d go home in tears but never told my mum because I thought it would make it worse.”

However, things changed for Alex in the sixth form when he became determined to turn this negative experience into a positive.

“I wanted to change the bullying culture and make it cool for young people to smile and be nice to each other,” says Alex. “By just getting them to smile at each other they start to see that they have the potential to change someone’s day. It’s about respect and encouraging them to look out for each other and be kinder.”

 

Alex’s campaign in school was so successful he now works to prevent bullying with national youth charity The Diana Award. He heads up the Anti-Bullying Campaign which now has over 16,000 young people working as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors within schools across the UK and Ireland.

He also works with companies including Facebook to look at how young people talk to each other and try to minimise ‘hate pages’ that can make bullying so much worse.

Alex was nominated for the Happy List by one of the many Anti-Bullying Ambassadors he trained. They said: “Without Alex, so many young people would be a victim of bullying. Wit the Anti Bullying Ambassadors all across the UK, young people are having a better experience at school.”

Thanks to Alex and the team The Diana Award, over 42, 000 young people have been recognised by their community for helping to increase positivity. It allows youngsters to be seen as role models; to actively become a part of the campaign to improve their school life.

Alex says: “We underestimate the power young people have; they are the ones leading change in the world.”

diana-award.org.uk

 

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