Kent: Childline Wants School Volunteers
The ChildLine Schools Service is looking for volunteers to help roll out its programme of special assemblies and workshops to primary schools across Kent and Medway
The aim is to help younger children’s understanding of abuse and to recognise situations where they may need help.
The presentations, which focus particularly on nine to 11 year olds, have been developed alongside children, parents, carers and teachers. Volunteers would get full training and support to deliver these to youngsters.
To start off with the charity wants to recruit 20 to 30 volunteers, but hopes eventually to have 70 to help reach more than 141,000 pupils in the county's 600 primaries over the next three years.
Anyone interested in getting involved needs to be available in school hours, between 9 and 3, have good communication skills and understand the message that the charity wants to get across.
Sarah Walker, ChildLine Area Co-ordinator for Kent and Medway, 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. However 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.
"In keeping with ChildLine’s long history of volunteering, the schools service will be led by volunteers. They will be trained to deliver safeguarding assemblies and interactive workshops. All materials will be provided and volunteers will be given regular training and support."
First piloted in 2010, there are two phases to the new 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.