Liz Carnell

Liz Carnell launched the immensely successful charity Bullying Online as a direct result of a family member's misery.

 

In 1994, Liz's son John was being badly bullied. She immediately did what any parent would do and approached the school for help. When they failed, she turned to the Local Education Authority.

Liz was horrified to find they could not tackle the bullies and felt no choice but to take matters into her own hands.

She took legal action against North Yorkshire County Council and was successful in reaching a financial settlement.

Liz realised that bullying was a real problem and there would be hundreds of parents and children suffering as she had. So she decided
to put her monetary award to good use.

"We wanted to share it with as many people as we could," she says, "so we identified the internet as being the ideal way to set up a charity."

Bullying Online was launched in 1999, paving the way for a new concept in communication over sensitive matters.

Based entirely on providing an email service, it offers practical advice and information for people suffering the effects of bullying.

The anonymity of the service has proved a huge success and over 300,000 people visit the site every year with up to four suicidal children a day contacting the charity for help.

Its incredible success is a credit to the tireless work and devotion of Liz, who manages to hold down a full-time job as well as being the charity's voluntary unpaid director.

"My working week is in excess of 70 hours," says Liz. "I start at 5.30am and answer emails for an hour and a half before I go to work.

Then when I get home, I'll work for the charity until 11pm, answering emails, updating the website and preparing talks."

Last year alone, Liz personally replied to over 8,000 emails and in total her team have answered more than 36,000.

Liz is the author of the site content and the public face of the charity, which has been described in Parliament as the vanguard of bullying.

It is used as a link from a number of other high-profile websites such as Childline, NSPCC, Samaritans, and various government, council and police sites.

But, despite all the long hours and hard work, Liz has no regrets.

"We've had countless emails from children and parents saying we saved their lives," she says.

"It doesn't matter how much time and effort we dedicate to it, it's worth it - every single minute."

 

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