ChildLine has today released figures that show that it’s not just children who benefit, volunteers get more than they bargained for as a result of volunteering.
A total of 77.2% volunteers state an increase in confidence in their abilities and 64.9% saying they’ve had an increase in their own sense of self esteem. Over half (54.8%), have seen an increase in their emotional well being also.
The findings are being announced by ChildLine as it launches its New Year’s Resolution campaign, which is asking for people across the Western Isles to make a resolution that counts and offer their time to support children and young people through the ChildLine’s Schools Service in their local community.
ChildLine’s pioneering Schools Service aims to be in a position to visit every primary school in Scotland once every two years by 2016 to talk to children aged 9-11 about abuse, how to protect themselves, and where to get help if they need it.
In order to protect a generation of children, one primary school at a time, ChildLine needs to recruit 200 volunteers to reach over 118,000 children across Scotland’s 2,154 primary schools by 2016 and to continue that programme for every generation year on year.
Area Coordinator for the Schools Service in Eilean Siar, Janine Bonner, said:
“We’ve known that volunteering can be extremely rewarding, with many of our volunteers feeling a great sense of satisfaction that they’re making a difference to young people’s lives.
“Today’s findings help show that as well as giving something back, our volunteers get something from the experience and we’re hoping we can encourage more to sign up with us this New Year.
“By volunteering for ChildLine you could help children understand what abuse is, giving them the confidence to talk about it, the knowledge to prevent it and the courage to find help if they ever need it.”
With stories of child abuse, exploitation and systematic child protection failures continuing to lead the news agenda, the service continues to be a vital lifeline for some children and young people.
The ChildLine Annual Review, due to be published early in the New Year, is likely to reinforce this with marked increases in counselling sessions around some high risk issues during the last year.
As a ChildLine School Service volunteer they will spend up to half a day per week helping support the ambitious new programme which aims to prevent abuse before it starts by equipping children in every primary school, in every community in Scotland, with the knowledge they need to act with confidence if they fear abuse.
Using a series of age-appropriate assemblies and interactive workshops, trained volunteers encourage children to recognise situations where they may need help and show them ways of accessing support.
The Service has already proved incredibly popular with parents and teachers. 99 per cent of schools across the UK who provided feedback in 2012/13 claimed that their pupils’ knowledge of child abuse and bullying was enhanced as a result, whilst 91 per cent stated that their pupils were now more aware of who to talk to if they felt unsafe.
New volunteers receive expert ChildLine training and ongoing support to help them gain valuable skills in communicating with children.
A ChildLine Schools Service volunteer, expanded: “You hear so many horror stories these days of children suffering without anybody knowing what’s happening to them.
“Without the schools service, children might continue to try to cope with abuse alone.
“It’s so good to know that just by speaking to the children, I’ve given those that are suffering the information and confidence to speak out. That’s the first step to making it stop.”
For further information and details on how to apply, please visit www.nspcc.org.uk/childlineschoolsservice