ChildLine founder Dame Esther Rantzen has launched a call for more counsellors to support some of the 7,000 vulnerable children its Leeds volunteers help every year.
The 75-year-old broadcaster visited ChildLine and the NSPCC’s Leeds base at St John’s Offices, in Albion Street, yesterday to thank current volunteers and appeal for more as the 24-hour free helpline for children nears its 30th anniversary.
The Leeds centre, which handles a share of ChildLine’s online counselling, is staffed by 50 volunteers but it is thought that 30 more are needed.
Dame Esther, who launched the charity in 1986 after she presented a show uncovering untold stories of childhood abuse, is inviting possible volunteers to an information event at the Leeds NSPCC offices on November 26 from 6.30pm.
She said: “There is a huge demand and one we are not quite meeting which gives us all kinds of challenges and that’s why we desperately need more volunteers because we have to be there that moment when the child plucks up the courage to get in touch with us.”
ChildLine has supported more than 3.9million vulnerable children dealing with issues like abuse, bullying and self harm.
Susan George, 68, from Roundhay, who has volunteered for over 700 hours at ChildLine, said: “If you ring and you’re in distress, even if you have to wait 10 minutes it is too long.”
Call 0113 8871111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more on the information event.