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NSPCC calls for volunteers to help keep children safe

NSPCC schools service delivering an assembly (credit Tom Hull Photography)

Volunteers are needed to get the message out to young children in Cumbria that they have the right to be safe from abuse and neglect.

The NSPCC delivers Speak out Stay safe assemblies and workshops in schools throughout the country. In these child-friendly, interactive sessions, specially trained staff and volunteers let children know how to keep themselves safe from harm and how to get help if they have any worries.

During this school year, the NSPCC went into more than 100 primary schools and spoke to at least 15,500 children in Cumbria.

Sally O’Donnell, the NSPCC Schools Service coordinator for Cumbria, said: “The assemblies and workshops we deliver are invaluable in letting children know they have the right to speak out and be safe. The charity’s aim is to reach every school with this service.

“But without the support of our volunteers, our programme simply couldn’t exist. We are in real need of people to join us to get the message out to schoolchildren in Cumbria.

“It’s a great way to meet new people and learn a new skill. The NSPCC trains and supports its volunteers so they feel confident in their role.”

NSPCC volunteer Gareth Clayton, 24, of Carlisle, started volunteering for the service earlier this year.

Gareth, who is a qualified teacher, said: “The NSPCC provides really good training and I feel like I get a lot of support. Also, when I tell people that I volunteer for the NSPCC they are very encouraging and supportive.

“It can take a bit of time getting used to delivering to a lot of children in an assembly but I really enjoy it and like the interaction with the children. They seem to really listen and engage. The sessions are aimed at the right level and we use appropriate words.

“It’s very satisfying to see children listening and taking on board these really important messages.”

One of the latest schools visited by the NSPCC’s schools service in Cumbria was North Lakes School in Penrith.

Teacher Lisa Johnston said: “I think the assembly was really accessible to all the children. It is vital they know all these things, and it opens the door for them to approach an adult if they need to.

“Also, hopefully, it will make them more aware of other children who have worries and more supportive and direct them to a trusted adult.”

Volunteers are asked to give approximately a few hours of their time, twice a month during school term time. Anyone who would like more information on how to volunteer for the NSPCC Schools Service should visit https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/volunteering-nspcc-childline/volunteer-childline-schools-service/ or contact sally at [email protected]

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