For most children, Christmas is a magical time of year – surrounded by friends and family, the excitement and anticipation of unwrapping presents.
But for some, it’s a time when they feel more alone than ever, when they’re struggling to cope with being ignored, bullied and abused.
New figures released show that in December 2013, trained volunteer counsellors at the NSPCC’s ChildLine base in Nottingham carried out 756 counselling sessions with children and young people across the UK – many of whom had nowhere else to turn.
A 14-year-old boy contacted the service after suffering years of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his mother. He said: “I’ve always wanted to say thank you to those voices on the other end of the phone. They don’t know it, but without them, I wouldn’t be here now. I know how close I came to ending it all – ChildLine was the only thing that pulled me back.”
The free, confidential, 24-hour helpline and online service provided by the NSPCC will be open throughout the festive season for youngsters who need to talk, even on Christmas Day.
But the service needs funding and support to ensure that trained ChildLine counsellors can continue to listen and offer help, advice and support to children. Text HOPE to 70744 to donate £4 and help answer a call.
Children and young people can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or visit www.childline.org.uk.