Half a million children in the UK experience some form of abuse, and as part of our ‘We Care’ day of Values Week together with our sister company GuidingLight Investments Intercity sponsored Childline for the day to help support counselling sessions for these vulnerable children. We’re so pleased that our donation meant that 700 children’s calls and online messages were answered. The focus of these calls ranged from mental health concerns (32%), suicidal thoughts and feelings (15%), and family relationships (9%)—and Childline’s counsellors were there to support them all. The children were able to receive advice and compassion from the counsellors, who do not tell the children what to do but instead invite open and honest conversation, helping them to see a way forward and take back control.
Here are some stories from Childline’s volunteers on the day:
“I spoke today with a young person who was struggling with feelings of stress and anxiety. She told me her family invalidates her feelings by not believing she’s suffering and in need of extra support. This makes her feel awful and overwhelmed - at times she doesn’t know how to cope with the stress without hurting herself or ”lashing out” at others. Before our call she had looked at the Childline website information on coping strategies, so we talked through some of them and other resources she could read. She was very thankful that I was here to listen, and I encouraged her to ring Childline again whenever she needs us.” Girl, 12 years old
“I had a phone call with Claire, a 16-year-old girl who’s struggling with her relationship with her dad. She told me she’s scared of what he might do when he’s angry. They had a bad argument today, so she decided to go for a walk and ring Childline for support. She told me that going outdoors is also a way of not giving in to her self-harming urges. I praised this girl for recognising the impact her father’s behaviour was having on her, and for doing things to keep herself safe, like calling Childline. I reminded her that we are always here to listen, whenever she needs us. We then discussed other people in her life that she could talk to. Claire mentioned a close friend of hers who she trusts and told me she would try reaching out to them later today. Claire sounded much calmer at the end of our call – I’m glad I was there to support her.” Girl, 16 years old
“I had a 1-to-1 chat with a non-binary child who had recently experienced sexual assault by a family member. This young person couldn’t recall much of the attack, only that they’d tried to run away before “blanking out” in their bedroom. This experience had left them feeling paranoid, anxious and unable to sleep. They hadn’t spoken to anyone else about this, they told me, as they feared no one would believe them. I reflected that what had happened to this young person was wrong, and they were not to blame. I also praised them for their bravery in speaking out and reassured them that Childline would always take them seriously and help them to find the support they deserved.” Non-binary child, 10 years old
WHAT IS VALUES WEEK?
We have five company values: We Care, We Make it Happen, We Never Stand Still, We Think Secure, and We Enjoy What We Do. Over the first week of July, we are devoting a day to each as a chance to refresh our focus on their integrity to our company culture.
On Monday, ‘We Care’ was our focal point. A key element of this is giving back to our community, and sponsoring Childline was a fantastic opportunity to do this.
INTERCITY VISIT NSPCC’S BIRMINGHAM BASE
Members of our team also got the opportunity to visit NSPCC’s Birmingham headquarters alongside Intercity’s founder, Alan Jackson, on our ‘We Care’ day on Monday! They were given an insightful tour into how the 24/7 Childline service operates, from the methods of counselling to how concerns are escalated. In Childline’s base in London, a digital display thanked Intercity for our support over the course of the day—check out photos of the team and the NSPCC bases below!
It was incredible to see how devoted staff and volunteers alike were to helping vulnerable children across the UK. The work they do is often emotionally difficult, with a lack of closure when cases are escalated to alternative authorities due to rarely receiving feedback as to whether a situation was resolved. As one Childline Supervisor told us as their motivation for working in an environment with this frequent lack of closure:
“Whether I’m here or not, it’s still happening.”
Highlighting just how important the service is, particularly after the amount of calls Childline received peaked in the COVID-19 lockdown. Since then, call patterns have become more unpredictable as the landscape of learning has changed. With online teaching hybridising education and the amount of time children spend in the classroom shifting, Childline’s 24/7 availability is essential.
The Intercity team were also informed on the additional service of Helpline, which offers adults a point of contact for seeking advice around concerns they have for children. Any member of the public is encouraged to contact the Helpline to talk with trained professionals if they feel a child is vulnerable or in danger. To reach the NSPCC Helpline, phone 0808 800 5000 (Mon—Fri 8am-10pm; Weekends 9am-6pm). Submitting concerns via email or online form are options available outside of these hours at https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/our-services/nspcc-helpline/
It's rewarding to see how Intercity’s donations to Childline have led to such fantastic support for children on a national scale, and we look forward to working with Childline far into the future!
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