Anti-bullying charity to close unless new funding found

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The Independent Online

An anti-bullying charity which specialises in helping victims of online abuse says it will close unless it finds £50,000 over the next two weeks.



Bullying UK warns that the charity will shut on September 1 if the money does not materialise and it blames the problem on the financial crisis and an absence of government grants.

The charity's founder, John Carnell, says the organisation has been refused aid. He also says there has been a major downturn in donations from businesses and individuals and he has issued a plea for people to throw a lifeline to the charity.

He said: "We have recently been refused central government funding, even though our service provides a lifeline to suicidal young people and distressed parents every single day.

“All we need to fund the service for a year is £50,000. We must be one of the most cost effective children's charities in the UK."

Bullying UK was set up in 1999 and, according to Google Analytics, it attracts more than 500,000 visitors each year.

Mr Carnell says the charity's one staff member and four volunteers have replied to 64,100 emails during its lifetime, 20 per cent of them from victims of cyberbullying.

Closing the charity could potentially cost the Coalition government tens of thousands of pounds, says Mr Carnell.

He added: “The government will need to provide two fully trained civil servants 24/7, 365 days a year, with an expertise to advise not only on complex education complaints, special needs and school appeal tribunals but to deal with suicidal children, school refusers, children suffering psychological problems and parents involved with social services and the police.”

The news follows pressure on social network sites such as Bebo and Facebook to take bullying more seriously with the adoption of anti-bullying buttons on their websites. It has been reported that more than 200 people have reported abuse on Facebook in the last month.

In a bid to save itself, Bullying UK – which also has an iPhone app and mobile website - has set up an online donations page at www.justgiving.com/SaveBullyingUK. It has raised just £1,360 so far.

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