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Suffolk: Childline schools service needs volunteers to support activities

10:13 12 March 2014

A national children’s charity is to go round schools teaching youngsters how to stay safe from abuse.

A national children’s charity is to go round schools teaching youngsters how to stay safe from abuse.

ChildLine is rolling out a new programme in Suffolk to help younger children’s understanding of abuse.

Using assemblies and workshops delivered by trained volunteers, ChildLine, run by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), will help pupils recognise situations where they may need help and tell them how to access support.

William Shaw, ChildLine schools service manager, said: “Research undertaken by the NSPCC shows that the majority of children who contact ChildLine for advice, information and support are over 11 years old.

“We know that the majority of children who are subject to a 
child protection plan are under the age of 11. These younger children are not connected so much with the outside world.

“In fact, their world is quite small. So if abuse is happening to them at that age, then it’s very difficult for children to speak up.

“That’s why we want to educate children earlier and ensure they know how to keep themselves safe or seek help if they need it.”

The service will need to recruit more than 20 volunteers from across Suffolk to reach the 302 primary schools which teach around 
64,000 children in three years. By 2016 ChildLine aims to have visited every school in the UK at least every two years.

The NSPCC said that sessions will be tailored to ensure topics are covered in a way which children understand.

The presentations and messages delivered at schools have been developed alongside children, parents, carers and teachers.

“The service is provided free of charge and focuses on primary school children, aged nine to 11 years old.”

Mr Shaw added: “What’s key about our schools service is that we need a great team of volunteers.

“It is very much about mobilising the community and to make child protection everyone’s responsibility so we’re encouraging people to get in touch to discuss local volunteering opportunities.”

First piloted in 2010, there are two phases to the service. The first is a school assembly that provides definitions of abuse, places to go for help and an introduction to ChildLine. The second phase takes place one to two weeks later and is an interactive classroom-based workshop where the messages are reinforced.

The volunteers will be trained to deliver the assemblies and workshops.

All materials will be provided and volunteers will be given regular training and support.

For more information about volunteering for the ChildLine Schools Service, visit ww.nspcc.org.uk/schoolsservice.

ChildLine on 0800 1111 and www.childline.org.uk is the UK’s only free and confidential 24-hour helpline for children and young people.

Trained volunteer counsellors advise and protect children and young people aged 18 and under. Adults worried about a child can call 0808 800 5000.

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