A Community Approach through the Medium of Art – The White Horse Project

The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation is proud to have been able to support the White Horse Project with support from people like you.

The White Horse Project used a whole community approach to tackle bullying and help young people negatively affected by bullying.

 “80% of participants felt much more confidence to manage difficult situations themselves.”

Community Focus

Involving parents, volunteers and members of the community, the project delivered four two-hour awareness-raising sessions led by a counsellor to explore relevant issues, including:

Short-term and long-term effects of bullying
Defining bullying; what it is and what it is not
The effects of bullying and how to spot it
How to support a bullied young person
Target, bully and bystander characteristics
The role of staff, parents and children in tackling bullying
Practical strategies for reducing bullying.

The project engaged 77 adults in these sessions and served to improve understanding and confidence in tackling the issue of bullying. It helped the participants to spot signs and symptoms in their young people and understand different characteristics of the people involved. The biggest positive impact was the confidence in being able to broach the subject with their young person and being able to communicate with them effectively, as well as knowing where to get information and what to do if a situation escalates and a formal approach is required. The adults also talked about workplace bullying and avenues for support were shared.

Young People in Art

The project also delivered eight sessions for young people who had experienced bullying. The sessions explored:

Bullying, physical, mental, verbal, social media and the long and short-term effects
Dealing with bullying and where to find support
Understanding and practising passive, aggressive, and assertive reactions to conflict.

The project looked at nurturing resilience working through the medium of art with the overall aim of creating a mural. The process focussed on:

Strengthening our responses
Breaking down barriers
Loving and respecting ourselves
Creating strength to manage bullying, both the long and short-term effects.

The main concern for the group was the inappropriate use of mobile phones and the internet, including inappropriate photographs, messaging and contacts. Hence, activities were broadly based around the fact that people are not always what they portray themselves to be. They took the idiom ‘Beware a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ and used imagery to illustrate that you can’t tell what type of ‘animal’ a person is until you get to know them.

The participants made animal hats and labelled them incorrectly (ie a dog hat, was named ‘cat’) made masks to hide their true identity, and discussed catfishing (luring someone into a relationship by adopting a fictional online persona), amongst other activities along the same theme.

During the sessions, individuals felt safe to address their own behaviours and make corrections.

“It’s hard to believe someone would just lie like that to me, but they did.”

“I am never going to send topless pics again. It makes me sick to think he could put the on Facebook.”

Of the 20 young people that attended the sessions, 80% felt they had significantly changed their view of themselves, felt more self-esteem, and felt more confident to manage difficult situations.

They reported that they now had a clear understanding of behaviours and roles that are involved in bullying. Some realised they were engaging in bullying behaviour and looked at alternative approaches. Resilience and understanding were greatly improved within the group.

You Can Help Too ….

We need your support to help more anti-bullying projects like this succeed, please consider a regular or one-off donation.