This National Volunteering Week (15-21 May, 2023), ISPCC wants to say a huge thank you to all our wonderful volunteers who are always available to listen to children and young people throughout Ireland.
We couldn’t provide the services and support we do without our selfless volunteers who go out of their way time and again to offer support to those who need it, whenever they need it, no matter the reason.
“Our dedicated volunteers and teams around the country listen and support children and young people, no matter what is on their mind or what they may be going through,” says Caroline O’Sullivan, ISPCC Director of Services. “Childline is there, unconditionally for them. Our online chat service is ideal for children who may feel more comfortable seeking support by typing and messaging about what is going on for them.”
According to Megan Sarl, who has been volunteering with Childline for 10 years, the conversations through online have become increasingly serious, with self-harm a big issue, as well as anxiety, stress over exams and family disagreements also being regularly discussed. For teens, body image and stress over social media is causing a lot of anxiety.
The Childline 24/7 listening service is anonymous, a fact that Megan thinks really helps children and young people to express what’s on their mind to a supportive listener.
“So many people feel that they can’t talk to others about what’s going on in their lives,” says Val Beegan, a volunteer with Childline’s Limerick unit. Val knows all about what’s on the minds of children and young people as she’s been volunteering with Childline for over 25 years.
Val has been involved in every type of conversation from children devastated to be thrown out of their friends’ what’s app group to young people wanting to stop self-harming but unable to do so.
They all need to be heard, says Val, and talking can make a real difference.