To mark 30 years of Childline, the free 24-hour counselling service for children and young people, Alex Cunningham MP attended a special event at Portcullis House to hear from its founder, Dame Esther Rantzen.
The event took place at Portcullis House in London, on 2 November, and was hosted by Nigel Huddleston, MP for Mid Worcestershire. There were also presentations from a Childline counsellor and six NSPCC Young Ambassadors.
Dame Esther spoke about how Childline is more in demand than ever before, counselling more than 300,000 children and young people every year. She also explained that since the charity introduced online support and counselling in 2009, more than two-thirds (71%) of the counselling sessions take place online.
Childline counsellor, Michelle Turnbull, who has been volunteering for Childline for five years, gave the Peers and MPs an insight into the counselling sessions. She described the time she took a call from a young girl who was suicidal and listened and spoke to her for more than hour – they even wrote a song together. Two months later the girl called Childline back to give counsellors an update on her progress.
Alex Cunningham MP said:
“It was a pleasure to attend the NSPCC event on Childline, and to join them in celebrating its 30 years of providing a vital service to hundreds of thousands of children every year. Without Childline, vulnerable children may have nowhere to turn for advice and support. Those who do get in touch get an excellent service and it is critical that Childline is supported by us all well into its forth decade and beyond.”
Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC said:
“This event at Westminster was a great way to continue Childline’s 30th birthday celebrations, with Dame Esther Rantzen as always leading the way. It was particularly moving hearing from the Childline counsellor and how she helps children and young people on a daily basis, some of whom find themselves in the most desperate of circumstances.”