Hethersett woman to launch text message service in Norwich

A mother's quest to provide practical life advice to young people via text messages has been given a boost as she prepares to launch the initiative in Norwich.

Claire Burke, 38, of Grasmere, Hethersett, hopes her project Respect Yourself! will one day be rolled out across the UK.

The aim is to set up a service which will allow charities and advice agencies to send daily 'words of wisdom' to those aged 13 to 23 years old on subjects such as health, exams, bullying, driving and employment.

It is also hoped celebrities will jump aboard the scheme by providing inspirational voice messages, which could be sent alongside the text messages.

Mrs Burke will be available to chat to potential users at the Forum, in Norwich city centre, on September 2 between 9am and 5pm, when the project is launched in the city area on a one-month pilot.

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Those attending the event will be handed a QR code which when scanned by a mobile phone will provide all the necessary details to opt in to the system.

Charities and organisations wishing to send messages via the service are also encouraged to attend.

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Mrs Burke, a mother of two who runs her own IT cleaning business, came up with the idea for Respect Yourself! two years ago when she heard her then 16-year-old brother was about to drive his motorbike without insurance.

She quickly sent him a text message warning him of the consequences if he was caught and he instantly changed his mind having seen the hard-hitting facts laid out in black and white.

But her plans to roll out a messaging service sat dormant until earlier this year when Mrs Burke's uncle asked whether she would like to work for his new company, which specialises in providing firms with multi-media marketing tools, and she suddenly realised she had all the technology and expertise around her to finally kick-start the project.

On the impending launch, Mrs Burke said: 'I feel amazing. It's been two years getting it from understanding my brother's struggles to realising this is a much kinder way of reaching out to young adults. It's in their language and their technology.'

For more information, visit www.respectyourself.org.uk

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