Posted: Mon 21st Dec 2020

Wales volunteers giving up time on Christmas day to counsel young people for Childline

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Dec 21st, 2020

A number of residents in Wales will be giving up their time this Christmas to volunteer for Childline counselling young people. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Last year, the service delivered 6,566 counselling sessions to children and young people from across the UK and Channel Islands during the 12 days of Christmas. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They listen to those who are suffering with their mental health and emotional wellbeing which could deal with family relationships, abuse and neglect, or self-harm and suicidal feelings. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Among the many volunteers is Jan Dock from Prestatyn who has been volunteering for Childline since November 2017 after retiring from the Army. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“This is the first time I will be doing a Christmas Day shift with Childline,” said Jan. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Fridays are one of the two days I normally volunteer and it seemed so natural to keep myself on shift this year. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Although people often see Christmas as a happy time, which I’m glad about, there will always be those who for whatever reason are struggling. And it must make any problems or worries seem so much worse, knowing others are enjoying themselves.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

During the 12 days of Christmas 2019, more than 250 children shared they were from Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Jan added: “For me, being able to be there in case anyone is worried, lonely or just wants to talk is important. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It’s something I just cannot explain, it’s like having a duty to do my shift, but more than a duty, just natural and the right thing to do.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Volunteer counsellors are supported by trained staff supervisors such as Sally King-Sheard, who started volunteering as a Childline counsellor in 2008. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Now employed as a Childline supervisor, Sally provides training, guidance and support to volunteers during their shifts. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

She said: “I started volunteering for Childline in Prestatyn around 12 years ago and I’ve been here ever since because I am constantly inspired by the volunteers who give up their time to help others and the children and young people that contact the service. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Christmas will be a little bit different for me this year. Usually I am away visiting family at Christmas, but this year I’ll be on shift supporting our volunteers who will be coming in. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“They are giving up their time as a volunteer and so it will be really lovely to be able to say thank you and I’m sure I’ll be dishing out a few mince pies too. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“At Childline we know that Christmas isn’t always the happiest day of the year for some children and young people. Being available on Christmas day and every other day of the year can help a child or young person feel less alone, knowing there is someone ready to listen and support them through whatever might be happening for them. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It’s as important as having the emergency services available 365 days a year.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The charity relies on donations to fund 90 per cent of their income, so they therefore launched the ‘Here for Children’ Christmas appeal to help fund their services. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They are appealing for £20 donations to the NSPCC so their services can continue for those who most need it, with around £4 able to pay for Childline to answer a call with a child. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Sally said: “It wouldn’t surprise me if this year is busier than years gone by because 2020 has been an unprecedented year for all of us and at Childline we have seen the impact that the pandemic has had on children and young people across the UK throughout this unusual time. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“For us though, it doesn’t matter what a child or young person wants to talk to Childline about, pandemic related or not, if it’s important to them, it’s important to us – that doesn’t change just because it is Christmas Day.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The pandemic has impacted volunteers being able to offer time at Childline Prestatyn, so the charity is continuing to appeal for more English and Welsh speaking volunteers. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

On her decision to volunteer, Jan said: “I completed my Colour Service and hit my retirement, which left me feeling like I was no longer contributing to society. My niece suggested I looked at Childline and I was surprised how many skills I had learnt through a totally different career could be transferred to helping to support our younger generation. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It just proves that whatever walk of life you’re in you can still contribute to something worthwhile and for me helping to support our younger generation is very important – they are this country’s future.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

To find out more about volunteering with Childline and how to apply, visit the charity’s website or contact the staff team on 01745 772 101 or ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Children can call Childline on 0800 11 11 from 7.30am to midnight from Monday to Friday or 9am to midnight on weekends, or alternatively get in touch via ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Anyone with any concerns about the welfare of a child can call the NSPCC Helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, email or visit for advice. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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