Christmas is traditionally a time to gather round the table with turkey and tinsel for a big serving of festive family fun, but for some of Manchester’s children, it is a time when they’re left feeling ignored, bullied and abused.
Figures released today reveal 396 children contacted the city’s ChildLine call centre, during the holiday season last year.
According to the charity the most common reason for calling the free and confidential service was to seek help and advice about family relationship struggles and bullying.
ChildLine area manager, Christine Mellor, said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that ChildLine really could be the difference between life and death for some children this Christmas.
“We’ll be talking to children and young people for whom Christmas can be a truly miserable time, listening to them, providing advice and support and being there for them when they can’t talk to anyone else about what they’re going through.”
He added: “Hundreds of ChildLine volunteers will be spending the Christmas period not with their families, but seeing the other side of the festive season.
“Please help us be there when they need us most – a donation of just £4 could mean that a child will hear a voice at the end of the phone that lets them know they’re not alone.”
The new figures coincide with the launch of the NSPCC’s Call for Help appeal to ensure its ChildLine service is able to offer support and hope to the thousands of children and young people expected to make contact this December.
Craig – whose name has been changed to protect his identity – first contacted the service aged 14 after suffering years of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his mother.
He said: “I’ve always wanted to say thank you to those voices on the other end of the phone. They don’t know it, but without them, I wouldn’t be here now. I know how close I came to ending it all – ChildLine was the only thing that pulled me back.”
ChildLine remains committed to providing a lifeline for thousands of children at Christmas and the free, confidential, 24-hour helpline and online service will be open throughout the festive season for children and young people who are facing difficulties.
The charity are now appealing to the public to help raise funds to ensure the trained counselors can continue to offer help, advice and support over the phone, even on Christmas day.
To find out more information, click here.
The child pictured is a model.
Image courtesy of Alex Hanson, via the NSPCC, with thanks.