9 January 2012, 06:00
A former plus-size model and Hertfordshire and Essex High School pupil is hoping to boost the self-esteem of more than 20,000 teenagers across the country by tackling body confidence issues.
Natasha Devon is planning to travel to schools and colleges across England and Wales this year with her self-esteem class Gossip School.
The one-hour class aims to help students aged between 14 and 18 years old with issues including eating disorders, self-harm, bullying and a lack of body confidence.
The former model, who has previously suffered from bulimia, trialled the classes at her former school in Bishop's Stortford, and has now worked with more than 6,000 teenagers across the country. Natasha wants to help a further 20,000 in 2012.
Natasha said: "There is a low self-esteem epidemic in this country. David Cameron has spoken about all sorts of proposed schemes which address the symptoms, but not the causes. We need to get to the root of the issue, make young people feel valued, help them overcome personal adversity and make them realise that they can achieve anything they set their mind to.
"A self-esteem class might seem like a fluffy term, but it's anything but. It's one of the keys which will help us fix broken Britain. Young people can have all the qualifications in the world, but it's no substitute for feeling comfortable in your own skin.''
Gossip School is part of Body Confidence, a campaign collecting body stories from real people all over the UK and turning them into stage shows and films starring a celebrity cast.
For more information on Gossip School visit www.bodygossip.org/gossipschool.