A VALUABLE listening service for children is hoping to train more volunteers thanks to a cash injection.
Set up in 2002, national charity The Place2Be provides much needed counselling services in schools in some of the most deprived areas.
The County Durham Place2Be has project workers in nine East Durham schools, including Easington Colliery Primary, Murton Ribbon and Seaham Trinity, working with children and supporting pastoral care teams.
Katherine Porter, hub manager for the Durham Place2Be, said the scheme has proved hugely successful over the years and headteachers are delighted with the work the members do.
“The aim is for children to know there is someone they can go to immediately if something is bothering them, they don’t have to sit and worry about it and wonder who they should talk to,” she said.
“It means incidents which arise on a daily basis can be managed well and dealt with quickly.”
Katherine said the children can talk to the Place2Be project worker about any problems, such as relationships with their friends or family matters.
They deal with a huge range of issues, from small problems which can be easily addressed to supporting children through terrible ordeals such as the death of a parent.
She said: “We get really good feedback from schools, and headteachers often say they don’t know how they would manage without the service.”
Nationally, the charity has been awarded £600,000 by the Department of Health over the next three years to continue its work with volunteers.
The Place2Be works in some of the most economically deprived areas in the UK where poverty, domestic violence, alcoholism and drug addiction are commonplace.
Counsellors work with staff and health and social care services to bring a joined-up approach to solving the problems of children and their families.
As well as project workers, Katherine also oversees 46 volunteers in the East Durham schools and hopes Durham’s cut of the new funding will provide training for even more, or for courses to help support staff in school, such as lunchtime supervisors, spot signs of emotional problems in the children’s behaviour.