CHILDREN in Chippenham are getting more help to tackle bullying.

Until now, anti-bullying work has mainly been done in schools, but now local people, councillors and youth groups want to do moreto combat the issue.

With bullying evolving from name calling and physical attacks and reaching into the online world, it can be more difficult to spot and deal with.

Cllr Peter Hutton, the chairman of Chippenham’s Local Youth Networking group, which works with young people and youth organisations in the town, said: “Schools take it upon themselves to talk about bullying as well.

“In most schools they have an anti-bullying policy.

“I am pleased that it is being recognised that there is a bullying issue.

“As a councillor and the chair of the Local Youth network we want to work closely with groups to combat this.

“We are continuing to do a lot of work with mental health within the youth community because it is a growing area of concern. I think teaching kids about bullying will help that.

“When you say bullying we think of physical bullying but most of the statistics will tell you it is on the internet.

“Bullying has changed over the years and it is an area we need to focus our attention on.”

Chippenham martial arts club Defence Lab has joined the campaign, and is offering help to youngsters through its anti-bullying education sessions and self defence classes for children aged between four and seven and seven and 12.

Anti-bullying education aims to teach children about the issue and the effects it can have on their peers, so they know how to identify bullying and deal with it.

The intention is also to stop children, sometimes unwittingly, from bullying people themselves.

Instructor Mike Wright, 22, said: “I think bullying is a massive problem, so we are teaching them how to deal with it.

“A lot of people misinterpret anti-bullying programmes, thinking they are teaching people to punch and get violent but they aren’t.

“It teaches them the different stages of an incident - to be aware in the first place so they can deal with it properly.

“We teach the kids anti-bullying because we don’t want them to become bullies themselves.

“We teach the negative connotations that come with bullying and that we don’t want it to happen, how it feels so they won’t make another person feel like that.

"We want kids in the area to respect people and be aware of bullying, and know how to deal with it in the right way.

“The physical side is the very last resort, we don’t encourage them to be physical straight away, there is a proper process.

“The classes are very fun orientated, you can’t take it too seriously with them.

“We do a lot of mat chat, sitting down chatting, a fun warm-up and we will do some self-defence techniques but we will make it fun and turn it into a game.

“We offer a two week free trial period and from then they can decide whether they want to sign up or if it isn’t for them.”

Defence Lab Chippenham classes currently run from Stanley Park and Frogwell School on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s.

T hey also hold self defence classes for adults for £35 a month.

Kids sessions are split into two groups, Super Sparks for four to seven-year-olds, and Street Smart for seven to 12-year-olds, and it is £40 for eight sessions.

For more information or to book a class call Mike on 07803559355or book online at