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‘Schools say it will change lives’: Child empowerment project launches second Norfolk pilot

Daisy Hitchcock-Wyatt from Norwich, founder of children's empowerment programme GR8 AS U R. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Daisy Hitchcock-Wyatt from Norwich, founder of children's empowerment programme GR8 AS U R. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Archant

Leaders of a programme designed to help children overcome bullying and other personal struggles have laid out their national ambitions after a successful pilot in Norfolk.

GR8 AS U R has reached the end of a three-year pilot in 16 schools across the county for an anti-bullying campaign, which teaches primary school children the value of kindness and friendship.

But the organisers are not resting on their laurels, with a new pilot underway in 11 schools teaching children about the power of self-belief and overcoming problems.

This second programme, Can Do, was launched during a special event on Monday at Catton Grove Primary School in Norwich, a long-term supporter of the project.

Helen Horth, school and development officer for GR8 AS U R, said “phenomenal” progress had been made on the scheme with a third programme focused on mental health also in the pipeline.

Pupils at Catton Grove Primary School listen to a GR8 AS U R workshop. Picture: Victoria PertusaPupils at Catton Grove Primary School listen to a GR8 AS U R workshop. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Former Catton Grove Primary teacher Ms Horth said feedback from pupils had been “extremely positive”. “Within the first term of starting GR8 AS U R our key stage one lunchtime time-outs had reduced by 80pc,” she said.

It is hoped that the GR8 AS U R scheme will be rolled out to all Norfolk’s schools – but organisers also have national ambitions.

“We want it to become part of policy so everyone is a GR8 AS U R school,” Ms Horth said.

“We want it to be national. We want it to be in every single school because we feel the programme can benefit everyone, and it can be flexible for schools.”

Stand-up comedian Tanyalee Davis, director of GR8 AS U R. Picture: Victoria PertusaStand-up comedian Tanyalee Davis, director of GR8 AS U R. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

The project was started by Norwich mum Daisy Hitchcock-Wyatt after her twins were badly bullied at four different schools. She says it is based on storytelling, with relatable characters for children.

“There are so many anti-bullying programmes out there but I couldn’t understand why no one was using them. We started writing then went to talk to schools about it, and they all said it would make a difference and change children’s lives forever,” she said.

Stand-up comedian Tanyalee Davis heard about the GR8 AS U R project in its early days and has since moved to Norfolk to support it, running fun days in schools to supplement the in-school sessions led by teachers.

She said: “I moved to Norwich for the programme and I have really enjoyed working in the schools with the kids.”

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