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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Childline needs more volunteers in Glasgow to meet demand

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Its base in the city carried out 33,753 counselling sessions last year

An increase in demand has led to Childline in Glasgow needing to recruit new volunteers.

The children’s advice and support service currently has 201 volunteers but is appealing for more to come forward to help counsel children and young people over the phone or online to deal with problems which include bullying, abuse, family issues and mental illness.

Last year staff at the centre carried out 33,753 counselling sessions with children and young people from all over the UK.

The most common issues dealt with concerned young people suffering from low mood and unhappiness followed by those having family relationship problems or being bullied.

The charity saves so many lives and protects so many children from pain but we could not do it without the warmth and compassion of our Glasgow-based volunteers

The NSPCC, which runs Childline, made the plea for more volunteers during a visit from its founder Dame Esther Rantzen to mark the 30th anniversary of the vital service.

Since it was set up in 1986 Childline has counselled four million children in 12 bases around the UK, with a dedicated network of 1,400 trained volunteer counsellors.

The average number of contacts has more than trebled since 1986 and more than two thirds of children who contact Childline now do so online.

Since it opened in 1990, the Glasgow base has handled over 640,000 counselling sessions.

“It is wonderful to see Childline thrive,” Dame Esther said.

“The charity saves so many lives and protects so many children from pain but we could not do it without the warmth and compassion of our Glasgow-based volunteers who are so skilled and committed.

“I have seen the difference Childline makes after speaking to many young adults who have used the service when they were children.

“The ways children contact us has changed dramatically since 1986 but the help our counsellors provide has not. It gives children hope and literally transforms lives.”

Elaine Chalmers, head of Childline for Scotland, added: “Childline has come a long way over the last 30 years, from a phone-only service to also offering a live online presence as well.

“We have evolved and have been able to stay relevant to young people’s needs because we take time to listen to them and to let them feel that they matter.

“Our counsellors let the young people who contact us know that the things going on for them are important and that help is available.

“I feel privileged to be able to work along with our wonderful volunteers to deliver a service that is available to any young person 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.”

While north of the border, Dame Esther also visited the Scottish Parliament where she met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; deputy presiding officer Christine Grahame and minister for child care and early years, Mark McDonald.

After the visit McDonald said: “We want all of Scotland’s children to get the best possible start in life and have a safe and happy childhood, in short we want to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.

“While this may be a simple ambition it can only be fully achieved in partnership with organisations like Childline.

“The work they do has been changing the lives of young people for 30 years but the service they provide is as vital today as it was in 1986.”

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