A GROUP of enterprising teenagers have launched a superhero-inspired anti-bullying campaign.

The Buddy Bear Backpack initiative aims to promote kindness and friendship to children aged four to seven across the county.

The scheme was created by the runners-up of East Lothian Social Enterprise of the Year, Lead a Bright Future (LABF).

The pack aims to raise awareness and understanding of bullying, both from the perspective of the bully and the individuals being bullied.

Each backpack will contain activities, a Buddy Bear soft toy and a colour-in story book, written by the participants of LABF, which follows the story of a bear who is transformed into a superhero to resolve the problems being faced by his owner at school.

The project was officially launched last month at Elphinstone Primary School with a special dress-up day to raise funds for the scheme.

Heather Williams, headteacher at the school, said: “It is every teacher’s goal to have a school environment free from bullying and this initiative could make a real impact on our efforts to make this a reality.

“We are delighted to host and contribute to an event for such a worthy and innovative project.”

LABF, which is commissioned through East Lothian Works, provides support and opportunities for young people who are about to leave school and who wish to progress into work, higher education or to set up their own business.

This project not only allows them to make a positive difference to the lives of others, but also helps to build skills and experiences that are transferable to their future careers.

The five participants in the project – Aimee, Brogyn, Emily, Erin and Rory – also invented the Buddy Bear superhero motto, KAPAW (Kindness, Action, Play, Ask, Well done), to provide a step-by-step method of preventing and solving bullying.

One member said: “We’ve all experienced bullying and we want to help the younger generation to prevent themselves and others from being bullied.”

The group has received immense support from the community, with a number of local businesses helping to raise funds through the donation of raffle prizes.

A website for the Buddy Bear scheme has also been launched at buddybearfriends.com, which both organisations and individuals can use to contact the group as well as donate funds or prizes to the initiative.

The school event is being sponsored by partners such as the Scottish Qualifications Authority through its Giving Something Back initiative.

If enough funds are raised then it is hoped that the Buddy Bear Backpack will be distributed across East Lothian and beyond.

Fiona Robertson, head of education at East Lothian Council, said: “This project has the potential to become an extremely valuable anti-bullying tool in the education of infants in their most influential years.”

The five teenagers developing the campaign hope that it will encourage children to take action against bullying and have aspirations that this initiative will one day improve mental health and wellbeing in schools across Scotland.