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Say No To Bullying - Gok Wan Teams Up With

Monday, 17 November 2008

Research issued today in support of Kidscape's anti-bullying week (17 - 22 November), shows that children are still being bullied for their appearance, to the extent that some play truant to avoid playground taunts.

The Specsavers survey of 1,000 children and their parents revealed that:

  • Almost 50% of children who wear glasses are called names in the playground
  • 20% of children have seen their classmates skip school because they were bullied about their glasses
  • Almost 25% of kids surveyed were sad because they had to wear their glasses to school
  • 60% of children don't think glasses are cool
  • Half don't wear their glasses when they should
  • Children have had stones thrown at them and their glasses stamped on
  • Glasses wearers still get called 'four-eyed freak' and 'speccy four eyes'

The theme of the 2008 'say NO to bullying' campaign is to celebrate diversity, being different and belonging together.

Campaign supporter and iconic specs wearer, Gok Wan, says: 'Thousands of children are bullied every year because of the way they look, as I was myself, and I know only too well the pain and distress that this can cause. Self-confidence is precious and can be destroyed at such an early age with the effects of bullying festering and perpetuating into adulthood.

'Kids can be very cruel without even realising it, attacking their schoolmates for everything from wearing glasses through to their weight, what they wear and where they live.

'I want children to know that if they are being bullied, they are not a victim and they should seek support and advice from their parents or another adult to help them deal with the bullies.'  

Kidscape founder Michelle Elliot OBE welcomes Specsavers and Gok Wan's support. She says: 'Bullies are cowards who look for some reason to pick on kids and they often use glasses as an excuse. With the help of Gok Wan and Specsavers though we really can give some confidence back to these kids and show them that they're not different or geeky, they're actually really cool.' 

As part of the 2008 Anti-Bullying Week, Kidscape have launched the great Kids Bake, an opportunity for schools to get baking and hold cake sales to raise money and help prevent bullying. Further information can be found at www.saynotobullying.org.uk.


- Ends -

*Mintel report February 2008

**Survey of 2,000 people conducted on behalf of Specsavers

Kidscape notes to editors

Kidscape is the first national charity dedicated to preventing bullying and child abuse and is committed to keeping children safe from harm. In the last year alone, more than two million children and parents contacted Kidscape about bullying and child safety - many of those children have been suicidal.

The Kidscape Kids bake is taking place this week. For further information, please log onto www.saynotobullying.org.uk

Kidscape, registered Charity number 326864

Specsavers notes to editors                                                   

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world
  • The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their eldest son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1060 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain and Australia
  • Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group is forecast to reach a record £1.05 billion for the financial year 2008/9
  • The group plans to continue its successful international expansion by opening stores in New Zealand
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners.
  • Specsavers employs more than 17,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the seventh year running by Reader's Digest in 2008
  • One in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers Opticians - eight and a half million glasses were sold during 2007
  • Specsavers is the largest retail provider of home delivery contact lenses in Europe and one of the top two retail suppliers of continuous wear lenses in the world
  • Specsavers is now the largest retail dispenser of digital hearing aids in the UK and will offer a hearing service from more than 400 locations by the end of 2008
  • Specsavers supports numerous optical and hearing charities, including Diabetes UK, for whom they have raised more than £250,000 to fund research into diabetic retinopathy
  • Since 2003 a quarter of a million glasses have been collected and recycled by Specsavers stores for Vision Aid Overseas for use in developing countries


*GfK Home Audit (Dec 2007)