Friday, 04 September 2015

Abuse service will visit all primary schools

A CHILDREN’S charity has announced the roll out of an ambitious new service that will visit every primary school in Cumbria by 2016.

The ChildLine Schools Service uses assemblies and workshops to help children understand abuse and how they can stay safe. In Cumbria the service now needs to recruit 46 volunteers to reach 39,690 children in 275 primary schools in three years.

The sessions are sensitively tailored to ensure topics are covered in a way children can understand and have been approved as suitable for nine to 11-year-olds by child protection specialists.

The Cumbria service has the backing of founder and president of ChildLine, Esther Rantzen, who met local volunteers recently.

In its 18-month pilot the service has visited 21 schools and spoken to more than 700 Cumbrian children.

Volunteer Berni Riley, of Grange, was among the group to meet Mrs Rantzen.

Mrs Riley has volunteered since September last year and has visited nine primary schools across the west and south of Cumbria. She joined after meeting local area co-ordinator Bridget Fenton.

She said: “Bridget talked about the new service and demonstrated some of the activities we do with children and I knew immediately I had to find out more. I’m used to working with groups of adults and I’m very comfortable talking to groups, but this is the first time I’ve worked with children. There is a real lightness about the service, although we talk about some very serious subjects.

“Delivering the workshops provides a real opportunity for the children to get involved in thinking about the subjects and discussing things with each other and with us.

“The key message is children can get help when they need it, there’s always someone they can talk to.”

Bridget Fenton can be contacted on 01228 401489 or 07967 379147 or at


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