To mark 30 years of Childline, the free 24-hour counselling service for children and young people, Angela Rayner MP met with the organisation’s founder, Dame Esther Rantzen.
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, also gave Angela 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.
Angela also got the chance to talk to other children who had used Childline and heard how it had changed their lives.
She said: “Celebrating is perhaps not the right word to use for Childline – its is awful that such a service even needs to exist.
“But we can celebrate the number of young people who have been helped and supported. It is a brilliant organisation, which clearly provides a vital service for vulnerable young people who are often in distress and feel helpless when they call.
Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC said: “This 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.”
During Childline’s birthday week the NSPCC released new data that reveals a 35% rise in anxiety in the past year, with 11,706 children and young people being counselled by Childline in 2015/16 compared to 8,642 in 2014/15.
An increasing number of children and young people are being struck down by the problem, with causes ranging from personal and family issues to concerns about world affairs such as the EU Referendum, the US Election and troubles in the Middle East.