Birmingham Childline is looking for more volunteer advisers as the service marks its 20th anniversary

BIRMINGHAM’S Childline service encourages more people to volunteer as counselors to support children in need.

The vital NSPCC-driven helpline celebrates its 20th anniversary this month (April) and appeals to more people from all walks of life to give up their time and help.

Colin Butler has been a volunteer counselor at Childline ever since Esther Rantzen started the service in 1986. He moved to Birmingham in 2004, two years after the Midlands Center was launched, and has been volunteering at the base for the past 18 years.

Volunteer counselors like Colin are a central part of the free and confidential Childline service and provide comfort, support and practical advice to the many young people and children who call and ask for help.

The 75-year-old said: “The Birmingham Childline base was very small back then in the beginning. It has since grown significantly with the biggest change that Childline is now online. In addition to being able to call us over the phone, children can now email and send us messages online.

“Another difference in recent years has been the growth in high-risk cases such as suicide, self-harm and mental health; to such an extent that it has now reached the point of crisis.

“But it is also very rewarding to be there for children. That’s what we do, and quite often we’re the only place they can go.

“Children share their problems and worries with us, knowing that we will not break the confidentiality unless they reveal something life-threatening. They trust us.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should send an email to birmingham volunteers@nspcc.org.uk.

Children can speak to a Childline Counselor at any time on 0800 1111. Alternatively, visit the Childline website, www.childline.org.uk, and have an on-line chat or send an email to a Counselor .

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