A CHILDREN'S charity is appealing for volunteers to join its North Wales helpline support their vital work.

The drive is being made by NSPCC Cymru during Volunteers' Week (June 3-9), in the hope more people will sign up to the children's counselling service at Prestatyn, one of 12 Childline bases, and a virtual base, which take calls from children all over the UK.

The 24-hour, seven day a week Childline service can be life-changing for children, giving them a chance to speak out safely about whatever might be happening to them or worrying them.

Last year Childline took a call every 45 seconds on average and delivered more than 16,000 counselling sessions a month.

The NSPCC is looking for more people of all ages and from all walks of life to become volunteers. It provides comprehensive training backed up by a supportive team of volunteers and supervisors.

Among the Prestatyn volunteers are Nia Griffiths and Sandy Collyer, both from Flintshire.


Nia Griffiths.

Nia Griffiths.


Nia, a former primary school teacher from Holywell, has been a volunteer counsellor for 22 years and says she has learned a great deal about the different problems children and young people can face and how rewarding volunteering can be.

She said: "Youngsters who have suicidal feelings, eating disorders, gender identity struggles or who are victims of sexual abuse and bullying, contact us online or over the phone.

"To be a listening ear who is non-judgemental and to be able to offer support and advice is so important for them and so rewarding for me.

"I have gained a real sense of self-worth and skills such as empathy and patience, while being part of Childline has also given me a feeling of belonging and of giving something back to society by helping young people in need.

"I would recommend volunteering for Childline in Prestatyn. It gives a sense of purpose; you make new friends and learn important life skills."


Sandy Collyer.

Sandy Collyer.


Sandy Collyer, from Northop, also has a background in education and was a school nurse in Hampshire before working for 21 years with children who struggled with emotional and behavioural difficulties. On moving to North Wales, she worked as student services advisor at Deeside College. Sandy has been a volunteer counsellor at Prestatyn for 12 years.

She said: "Having someone to talk to, who listens, believes, and doesn't judge, can mean everything. For some young people we may be the first person they have talked to, who has listened, shown interest and cares.

"For others, it can be easier to talk to someone they don't know, a stranger, who isn't involved in their lives and what they're going through.

"Volunteering at Childline has enriched my life. To help someone or simply show kindness and help a child feel a little bit better about themselves or their situation and perhaps empower them to make a decision or tell a trusted adult, is very special.

"For a child to put their trust in me to talk to is incredibly powerful. I feel very privileged.

"I have learned so much working at Childline which I can apply to my own life, especially my counselling skills. I think it has made me a better person. Volunteering for Childline is the best thing I have ever done."


Volunteer co-ordinator at Childline in Prestatyn, Sarah Walker.

Volunteer co-ordinator at Childline in Prestatyn, Sarah Walker.


Volunteer co-ordinator at Childline in Prestatyn, Sarah Walker, said: "Volunteers week is an opportunity to appreciate the amazing people who dedicate their time to have a positive impact on the lives of children and young people and for individuals to consider volunteering themselves.

"Childline relies heavily on the dedication of volunteers, so I'd encourage anyone interested in making a meaningful difference to the lives of children and young people to join us."

• For more information, visit: www.nspcc.org.uk/volunteer

Anyone with any concerns about the welfare of a child can call the NSPCC Helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, email help@nspcc.org.uk or visit www.nspcc.org.uk for advice.