“Hi, you’re very welcome to Childline….”. These are the first words that a child might hear when they call Childline, the listening service for children up to the age of 18. But with a 20% drop in funding since the beginning of 2014, they are now in danger of no longer being able to provide the 24 hour service .
Childline is a confidential listening service provided by the ISPCC. It’s the service that many of us associate with the Childline concerts and the Cheerio boxes on our table at breakfast, but there’s so much more to it than just a concert in Dublin every year. Childline is a confidential listening service for all children up to the age of 18. Volunteers and staff members, from all walks of life around the country, are trained and continuously mentored to ensure they keep sharp the skills that help them through every call.
Children can call for many different reasons, and that’s one of the great things about the service – it doesn’t matter what the child chooses to talk about, the call is all about the child, and what they want to talk about is what is important. Children are never judged or told what to do by Childline, so they can call for a chat, to talk about what’s going on for them, worries or fears, or whatever they want. We all know what it’s like when you need to talk to someone, and how it feels when you know you have been listened to.
In 2013 alone, 443,449 calls were answered by Childline and 13,037 text conversations were had. To imagine this, picture everyone in South and North Tipperary having three phones each, and using them to call Childline. But because of lack of funding, the 24 hour service could be forced to cut 5 hours a night, with 88,000 calls being missed. You can imagine what effect a loss of 5 hours from emergency services such as the fire brigade or the ambulance would have on society. This 5 hour loss would be just as devastating for the children relying on the service.
To counteract the drop in funding, Childline today launched a nationwide emergency appeal to raise the funds to keep the service running around the clock, so that all children can be heard. Childline receives 95% of its funding from public donations, so relying on the public to support the service has never been more important . Keep an eye out for the ‘Childline Emergency Appeal Call Box National Roadshow’ which will be travelling around the country to increase the funds and create awareness.