ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen and Aberdeen’s First Citizen launch Appeal for volunteers
Local volunteers protect thousands of children from the charity's Ruby Lane base.
ChildLine President Esther Rantzen was joined by Lord Provost George Adam on a visit to ChildLine's Aberdeen base today (20 November). Together the TV celebrity and Aberdeen's First Citizen thanked volunteers for the support they give to children and young people, andappealed for more people to help the NSPCC's ChildLine service provide comfort and protection for desperate children who have nowhere else to turn.
The free 24-hour confidential helpline for children has been providing support and advice to children across the UK since 1986 and has had a base in Aberdeen since 2004.
Since 1986 ChildLine has handled nearly 4 million counselling sessions with children and young people, either by phone or via its online service. As the helpline celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2016, even more children are expected to contact ChildLine volunteers in need of support.
Children and young people contact ChildLine about a range of worries including family relationships, bullying, cyber bullying, sexting, self-harm and physical abuse.
The Scottish teams based in Aberdeen and Glasgow handled over 47,000 counselling interactions with children and young people from across the UK last year.
Ms Rantzen said: "Volunteers are the lifeblood of the service and it's thanks to them that we're able to save precious young lives and protect thousands of children from pain. It's a testament to the Aberdeen community that the service has achieved so much.
"We have increased our capacity to support children and young people but we still need more volunteers to achieve our aim of answering every contact made by a child or young person in danger or distress. We are there for children, whenever and wherever they need us, so we also have a need for people who can handle switchboards, respond to emails and help children through 1-1 web chats.
"It is wonderfully rewarding work, transforming children's lives and protecting them from pain. ChildLine counsellors often tell us that their weekly shift with us is the best part of their week."
Adeniyi Alade, ChildLine Children Services Manager in Aberdeen, said volunteers came from all walks of life and do not need to have training or qualifications in counselling to apply.
"We provide full training to all successful applicants," he added.
"All you need is a commitment to children and young people, an open mind and an ability to listen and support young people who need support."
The Lord Provost said: "Aberdeen is very proud to be a home to this fantastic service which does so much to help children, some of whom are going through the most difficult time of their lives. On behalf of the city I want to give a heartfelt thanks to those citizens who give up their precious time to volunteer for ChildLine and help children in desperate need."
Even if you can't make a regular commitment as a ChildLine volunteer counsellor, there is something simple and fun Aberdonians can all do to help the service be there for every child who turns to it this Winter. The charity is recruiting #Bobblehatheroes. By donning your favourite bobble hat, sharing a picture on social media and donating £4 you can fund the cost of a call to ChildLine. You could even get friends and colleagues involved by holding a Bobble Hat Day, or getting your knitting needles out and holding a knit and natter event to raise even more money for ChildLine.
Ms Rantzen and the Lord Provost also met Les Strachan, Sarah Paterson and Steve Coyle, volunteer counsellors with ChildLine.
ChildLine Aberdeen will be holding an open evening for people interested in volunteering for the helpline on Thursday November 26 from 6pm to 8pm. For more information contact Kerri Stewart on 01224 9730 30 or visit nspcc.org.uk/volunteer
To find out what you can do to join ChildLine Scotland's #Bobblehatheroes email firstname.lastname@example.org