Local man Chris Thompson is appealing to people across the North West to consider volunteering for the NSPCC’s Speak Out, Stay Safe service, and help keep a generation of children safe from abuse.
Chris, aged 55, who is a retired civil servant and now works part-time, has been volunteering with the service for many years.
He said: “When I retired I took an interest in doing voluntary work, firstly, with my local community group as a driver. I saw an item in a job website looking for volunteers to work with Childline and the NSPCC School Service. As I work with young people in a local sport club I thought it would be a worthwhile venture to be part of being able to help keep children safe and secondly to keep my brain active.
“I have enjoyed the challenges of Childline counselling but due to time constraints I had to give this up last year, although I did find it highly rewarding. I believe that working with the school service has given me satisfaction and reward at being able to get the message to a lot of children on how to speak out and stay safe. It gives me a sense of achievement and feeling good, like a buzz, whenever I have presented the assemblies and workshops.”
The NSPCC visited 49,726 children in 245 schools across Northern Ireland in the last school year alone (2018-19) to give the simple yet vitally important messages to help children stay safe.
Each assembly, which is delivered by volunteers, equips pupils with the skills and knowledge they need to recognise abuse and speak to a trusted adult about it.
But with an average of two pupils in every primary school across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK having suffered neglect or abuse, the NSPCC wants to reach every single child. So, the charity is appealing for more dedicated volunteers to take on the role.
All volunteers receive dedicated training, which provides them with all the tools needed to help them play their part in keeping children safe.
Chris added: “I work with an excellent group of co-volunteers and also a great group of primary schools who are most appreciative of the message we give. The support I receive from my supervisor is first class and if I have any issues they are easily resolved.”
NSPCC Speak Out, Stay Safe area coordinator, Janice Porter, said: “Chris is a vital member of the Speak Out, Stay Safe team in the North West, and we are so grateful to him and our other volunteers for dedicating their time to protect a generation of children.
“We always need more volunteers in the area to help us get our message out. It’s a great way to meet new people and learn a new skill, while giving something back. We ask for a minimum commitment of three deliveries a month within school hours and the NSPCC give you all the training and support you need to feel confident in your role.”
Speaking to anyone thinking of volunteering, Chris’s message is: “The NSPCC service has a very important role to help children speak out and not carry their worries inside, like bottling it up. It hopefully gives them the confidence on how they can now deal with whatever worries or dangers they may have to face.
“wI get a real satisfaction buzz after each lesson and god willing I will continue in this role for many years to come helping children in the province.”
If you would like more information on how to volunteer for the NSPCC Schools Service, please visit the NSPCC website at www.nspcc.org.uk/speakoutstaysafe.
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