Improving mental health and reducing bullying in just one day: Kidscape’s ground-breaking results

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Kidscape, the anti-bullying charity that helps, has changed the lives of almost 800 children experiencing bullying with significant improvements to mental health, school engagement and family life through Kidscape ZAP workshops held throughout England. The programme which received almost half a million pounds of National Lottery funding in 2015, has released their evaluation and analysed data from 795 children who attended workshops from 2015-2018.

After attending a Kidscape ZAP workshop, 95% of children feel better about themselves and 98% feel more able to deal with a bullying situation. In the longer term, 90% of children experience an improvement in mental health and 72% experience less bullying.

6% of children are bullied every day, the equivalent of one child per classroom. Bullying is known to have a serious negative impact on mental health with effects that can last a lifetime. Kidscape ZAP workshops reduced depression, anxiety and seriously reduced the number of children reporting self harm.

Bullying can also have a negative impact on the families of children being bullied, who often feel powerless and isolated. The Kidscape ZAP programme includes a separate workshop for parents and carers. 91% of parents who attended felt more able to support their children, and 97% felt they knew more about communicating effectively with their child’s school. Overall, Kidscape ZAP has a hugely positive impact on family relationships, and 91% of children feel more supported by their parents and that family relationships have improved. Parents and children who attended a Kidscape ZAP workshop report their lives have changed for the better.

The funding from the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, supported Kidscape to roll out workshops across England. Kidscape ZAP workshops are an intensive one-day workshop where children who are being bullied learn and practice a toolkit of techniques to be assertive in a bullying situation and build their own confidence. Meanwhile, parents receive expert knowledge in supporting their children with their new skills, and how to communicate effectively with their child’s school. Kidscape ZAP has been running for almost 20 years, and this latest evaluation is the biggest-ever evaluation of the programme, comprising of short-term and long-term follow up of ZAP families.

Kidscape ZAP workshops run at venues in the South East, Midlands and North East and will soon be launched in Wales.

Learn more and register for a place


Lauren Seager-Smith, CEO of Kidscape, says:

“It’s amazing to see how one day can change the life of a bullied child. Bullying can have a devastating impact on children and their families, but the latest figures from our largest-ever evaluation of the Kidscape ZAP programme show that there is hope and that you can put bullying behind you. I’ve heard inspiring stories from children and parents alike of how since coming to ZAP, they’ve gained the confidence to stand up to bullying, to take part in activities they never dreamed of doing before, and even intervene when other children are being bullied. We urge families not to suffer in silence but to reach out to Kidscape.”

A parent who attended Kidscape ZAP with her daughter said:

“I will be forever grateful for the ZAP course because I think it has literally changed my daughter’s life. She shines with teenage joy in life now and since the course has made and affirmed some lovely friendships. The bullies either no longer bother with her, or she has the confidence and skills to cope with them in a new and improved way so she doesn’t let them worry her.”

A child who attended Kidscape ZAP said:

“Before I went to ZAP, I wasn’t very good at standing up for myself but after I went to ZAP it just really helped me. I was able to just block bullies out and if I needed to I could stand up for myself and that made my life a whole lot happier.”

James Harcourt, England Grant-Making Director at the Big Lottery Fund, said:

“Thanks to National Lottery players, Kidscape is making a huge difference to children and families whose lives have been affected by bullying. By exploring long-term solutions, its work looks set to continue to benefit young people into the future.”

Kidscape ZAP workshops are a free one-day workshop for children age 9-16 affected by bullying. These interactive workshops raise confidence and develop assertiveness skills together with others in a similar situation, which helps deal with a bullying situation effectively and feel better about themselves. On the same day, parents attend a separate session to gain expert knowledge about their legal rights and learn how to support their child’s new assertiveness skills.

  • Since 2000, ZAP has helped more than 2300 children.
  • After attending a ZAP workshop 96% of children feel more confident and 98% more assertive.
  • 72% of children who attend ZAP experience less bullying.
  • 90% report improvements in their mental health.
  • 82% feel more confident and better about themselves.
  • 87% report improvements in their schooling (e.g. better attendance, being able to concentrate)
  • 97% of parents who attend know more about how to communicate with their child’s school.
  • 91% of parents know how to support their child.
  • 91% of children feel their family relationships have improved.

The Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, our funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 we have awarded £9 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people.

Learn more about ZAP and register for a place


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