A CLERGYMAN is calling on Wearsiders to give youngsters a helping hand in the new year.
Jeremy Chadd, vicar at St Chad’s Church, East Herrington, says that volunteering and helping children could be one of the best resolutions to make.
During the current period of financial harship, charities rely heavily on the commitment of volunteers, and a new NSPCC service being launched in Sunderland is hoping to attract new people to help out.
ChildLine Schools Service visits primary schools to teach youngsters aged seven to 11 about how to protect themselves from being bullied.
Jeremy, 56, who also helps out at homeless charity Nightstop, said: “The workshops are with a smaller group of children.
“There we talk about being safe and listened to and we think more deeply about issues.
“For me this is the most interesting part of my role.
“Some very serious things come out of these discussions, and also some very funny things.
“It’s really good fun and it’s surprising as you never know what the children will say and often they will have a different take on something than what we expected.
“We have lots of resources to take with us to the schools, such as the ‘buddy kit’, which helps each child to identify people who they can talk to if they’re worried about something, like their teacher, their friend, mum or dad or ChildLine.”
There are two stages to the ChildLine Schools Service, with the first revolving around an introduction to ChildLine through a school assembly.
The second stage takes place one to two weeks later and is an classroom-based workshop where messages are reinforced and skills are developed.
Jeremy, who has been at St Chad’s for 23 years, said: “All of the volunteers I’ve met in the North East are really enjoying it and I personally feel confident and very well supported.
“I feel like what I am doing is making a real difference and I would advise other people who are considering volunteering to find out more about the ChildLine Schools Service.”
Volunteers must be aged 16 or over and be available to volunteer for part of the day during 9am to 3pm.
They must also be able to commit for one academic year or equivalent.
Those interested in volunteering should contact area coordinator Christine by emailing cdanbyplatt@NSPCC.org.uk.