Hethersett text advice service hoping for charity status

The founder of an innovative scheme which harnesses the power of the text message to help young people make better life choices is hoping the not-for-profit venture can soon be registered as a charity.

Claire Burke, 38, of Grasmere, Hethersett, needs �5,000 to apply for the status for her newly-launched project Respect Yourself! which has just completed a successful one-month pilot. The initiative allows charities and advice agencies to send daily 'words of wisdom' via text message to those aged 13 to 23 years old on subjects such as health, education, bullying, money and employment.

Mrs Burke is now appealing for fundraisers to get behind the venture, while also urging the public to vote for the project as part of the NatWest Community Force scheme which will see the most popular community initiatives awarded grants.

Since the launch of Respect Yourself! in Norwich last month, about 200 young people have signed up to the free service. Mrs Burke said: 'It's been absolutely amazing. You often 'think am I doing this right?' or 'am I doing this wrong?', but when you're given feedback with someone saying 'thank you' then that's what it's all about for me.'

The mother-of-two, who also runs an IT cleaning business, came up with the idea for Respect Yourself! when she stopped her teenage brother driving his motorbike without insurance with a text message about a potential fine and penalty points.

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'It's about giving strength to these young people. Building their confidence to make decisions,' she added.

For further details, visit http://respectyourself.org.uk

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To vote in the NatWest Community Force and view other projects taking part in your area, visit http://communityforce.natwest.com

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