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'There's no problem too small to call about': Childline expecting over 1,000 calls today

A team of Childline volunteers are giving up their own Christmas to offer support to hundreds of children who will need to talk to someone.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock

IT’S CHRISTMAS MORNING and children should be jumping around, bursting with excitement and filled with festive spirit.

But in the Children offices in Dublin, phones have been ringing through the night – and they will continue to ring all day.

At the ISPCC, a team of Childline volunteers are giving up their own Christmas to offer support to hundreds of children who will need to talk to someone.

It’s expected that the charity will answer over 1,000 calls from children and young people today.

Many of these young people are calling because they feel lonely, scared, hurt or upset – and the Children volunteers may be the only voice they can find solace in today.

ISPCC volunteer Sarah Hughes has been working with Childline for the past six years, primarily helping out with the charity’s web chat service. She has volunteered at Childline every year she has spent with the charity.

Hughes explained to TheJournal.ie why there is a spike in the number of calls made to Childline around Christmas time:

“I think young people have issues all through the year but there is an expectation that Christmas is different and that all their issues should go away. But for the young people calling in, Christmas can compound the issues they are dealing with,” Hughes said.

“Particularly when you have a Christmas time when everyone is in the house together, even if the abuse isn’t directed at them they can be affected, say if it’s parents arguing in the other room,” she said.

Sarah-Hughes Volunteer Sarah Hughes Source: ISPCC

Financial issues are a major driving force behind the phone calls being made to Childline, according to Hughes.

“You get a lot of calls about mental health too. Since the recession, we have found there are a lot of children, especially in the lead up to Christmas, who are concerned about how their parents can afford the holidays,” she said.

Alongside the crisis calls, Hughes said the charity also receives calls from children who just want to wish the volunteers a Merry Christmas and to thank them for being there for them throughout the year.

Hughes is just one of the dozens of volunteers who give up their Christmas for a few hours of volunteering. She said that while it can be difficult at times, the rewards outshine the tough times.

“It can be quite difficult. you would want to be a robot not to be affected by these young people,” she said.

“We have really great support as volunteers and staff. I don’t know if this is same for all volunteers, but knowing the children were going through this and that you were there when they were going through it, that’s what makes it worthwhile.”

Anyone concerned about a child or any child who needs a listening ear this Christmas time is being asked to reach out to Childline.

“Across adults and children, there’s no problem too big or small to call about. We don’t ever judge, it’s their safe space,” Hughes said.

How to get support from Childline:

  • By phone: Children and young people can contact Childline’s 24-hour phone service by phoning 1800 666666.
  • By text: Text the word: ‘talk’ to 50101 (service available from 10am to 4am)
  • Live online chat: Available from 10am to 4am, live chat on Childline.ie
  • Online: Support and advice for children and parents can be found on ispcc.ie and childline.ie

Read: Nearly enough people to fill the 3Arena urgently sought help from Simon Communities last year

More: ‘The ice-rink didn’t have any ice’ – Families fume as Winter Wonderland branded ‘a shambles’

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