A girl, who was bullied since the age of eight, wants to encourage other victims of bullying to channel their frustration into creativity.
Kat McCluskey, from Cramlington, Northumberland, says she was bullied as a child but found an escape through arts, including writing poems.
The 21-year-old’s Fixers project - a short film entitled ‘Express Yourself’ - is inspired by Kat's experiences with bullying, and from meeting a 14-year-old girl named Isabella who also was bullied in school. It aims to show how the creative arts can help bullying victims overcome their past.
‘I know what it feels like to be bullied and not being able to speak about it. That’s why I want to help others who are in the same position I once was,' says Kat.
'I found the best way to deal with bullying was to go and distract myself. When I could not talk to anybody about it, I could put down the words on paper as if somebody was listening or the page was listening to what I was saying.
'My film tries to encourage young people to express themselves through creative arts, to get their feelings out rather than bottling it up inside them.'
In her broadcast film, Kat screens her film at the Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project where she engages with local school children and teachers in creative workshops including dance, music, creative writing, drama and art.
Val McFarlane from the Bullying Intervention Group, who also is featured in the television news story, says: ‘When children have been bullied, they’re embarrassed, they feel disempowered.
‘When they can use the arts like Kat’s Fixers project has, not only are they working as a team, they’re with other people and also expressing their feelings about what’s happened to them, and this is really good for raising self-esteem.’
Kat says her own bullying left her feeling afraid of what people might think of her, and hopes her Fixers project will help her overcome her fear and continue moving on.
‘I hope my story will reach out to young people and tell them there really is a way of finding a release,’ she says.
‘Working with Fixers has been a really great experience. My advice to victims is to obviously talk to someone but also find a way of releasing that emotion in a creative way.’