As the festive season approaches, ChildLine is reminding those who may need someone to talk to that the telephone and online service is open as usual during Christmas and the New Year.
ChildLine is available for young people to contact all year round, 24-hours a day. At the East Midlands base in Nottingham, volunteers will be giving up their time throughout the festive period including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
East Midlands ChildLine services manager, Ziv Israeli, said: “For many children Christmas is one of the most special times of the year, but for others it can be filled with loneliness, anxiety and fear. ChildLine remains open throughout the festive season so that children have someone to turn to if things get tough.”
One local volunteer who will be taking calls and online chats during this time will be Mike Hasty from Chesterfield. Mike, who has been volunteering for eleven years and recently received an award from ChildLine Patron the Countess of Wessex for Going Above and Beyond with Significant Length of Service, said: “Christmas can be a really difficult time for young people. Family tensions can mean a small disagreement turns into something bigger, and if that happens it’s important that young people know we are here to listen to them just like at any other time of year.
“I don’t mind being on shift over Christmas and New Year. It is good to know that you are helping to make things a little bit easier for someone by being on the end of a phone or online chat.”
Ziv Israeli added: “We couldn’t operate the service without the help of volunteers who give up time with their family and friends to help others. Their continued dedication is inspirational and makes a real difference to children and young people, so I want to say a big thank you to all of them.”
Over the twelve days of Christmas last year (24 December 2010 to 5 January 2011) volunteers at the East Midlands ChildLine base answered almost 1,400 contacts from children and young people across the UK via telephone, email and 1-2-1 chats. During this time family relationships and bullying were the two subjects young people most wanted to talk about.
The ChildLine service is available for young people up to the age of 19. Trained volunteer counsellors provide advice and support to young people by telephone on 0800 1111 or via the website www.childline.org.uk.