Growing up without mum and dad made me a target for playground bullies.

A Bristol Fixer who was bullied at school because he was raised by foster parents is drawing on his own experience to campaign for greater respect for kids in care.

John Denver, now 19, says he was left feeling worthless by playground bullies who saw him as an easy target because he was not raised by his parents.

Working with Fixers, the national movement of young people ‘fixing’ the future, John is making a short film to urge greater respect and understanding.

A report about his campaign will feature on ITV News West Country on Tuesday, March 12 from 6pm.

“The bullying from other children made me feel worthless,” said John.

“They thought the fact that I didn’t have parents made me a target, and something that they could easily bully me about. I think that was very wrong.

“I want to get the message out there that children in care are no different to anybody else, regardless of the colour of their skin, their age or their background.

“Everyone should be treated exactly the same, in a respectable manner.”

Fellow Fixer, Brenda Horn, 18, also from Bristol, is helping John with his project.

Placed into foster care when she was five, she was also bullied for not living with her biological parents.

“It felt like nobody cared about me,” she said. “I was being picked on, and it felt like I was being singled out.”

Fixers is a movement of thousands of 16 to 25-year-olds across the UK who are supported to take action and change things for the better, addressing any issue they feel strongly about.

How each Fixer tackles an issue is up to them – as long as they benefit someone else.

The award-winning Fixers project has already supported almost 7,000 young people across the UK to have an authentic voice in their community.

Now, thanks to a £7.2 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund, Fixers aims to work with a further 20,000 young people over the next three years.

Each Fixer is supported to create the resources they need to make their chosen project a success, with creative help from media professionals to make their own promotional material, such as films, websites or print work.

Fixers is a trademark of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT), a charity that brings together mainstream broadcasters, public and voluntary sector services, and viewers.

“Fixers started in 2008 as just an idea… an idea given a voice by some 7,000 young people over the past five years,” says Margo Horsley, Chief Executive of PSBT.

“They have reached thousands of people with their work, on a national stage as well as in and around where they live. They choose the full array of social and health issues facing society today and set about making their mark. Fixers are always courageous and their ideas can be challenging and life-changing, not just for themselves.”

Peter Ainsworth, Big Lottery Fund UK Chair, said: “The Big Lottery Fund is extremely happy to be supporting Fixers to engage with more young people to change things for the better. Thousands of public-spirited young people across the UK are campaigning to make improvements in their own communities. By providing a platform to highlight their voluntary work and many achievements, Fixers demonstrates the positive contribution thousands of committed young people are making at a local level and challenges negative stereotypes.”

Two photos attached. Captions:
1. John Denver
2. John Denver with Brenda Hook

For images, interviews or more information, please contact Sarah Jones in the Fixers Communications Team by email or phone 01962 810970.

There are lots more stories about young people doing great things on the Fixers website, Twitter and Facebook pages:

Notes to editors:

• Since 2008 some 7,000 young people in England have become Fixers and created 800 projects. Now with a £7.2 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund, Fixers is extending into Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
• The Public Service Broadcasting Trust is a charity that brings together mainstream broadcasters, public and voluntary sector services, and viewers.
• The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
• BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since June 2004. The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
• Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £29 billion has now been raised and more than 383,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Fixers, on Friday 8 March, 2013. For more information subscribe and follow

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