I know that I’ve not been the best at writing blog posts as regularly as I’d like. Although there isn’t really an excuse in these days of modern technology and smart phones etc, I have been genuinely busy!!
I wrote a couple of posts previously about Volunteering and the NSPCC, explaining about my volunteering, which is mainly what I’ve been doing for the last couple of months. I’ve also mentioned how I’ve been unable to work for the last few years due to illness, operations etc. So as not to go completely mad, I joined ChildLine as a volunteer counsellor while I was still living in London. I loved doing this and would have loved to carry on but circumstances changed and I couldn’t keep driving in to London while living in Dorset, although I did try for a while!
When my supervisor suggested that instead of leaving ChildLine completely I have a look at their Schools Service, I jumped at the chance. I hadn’t known much about this except the basics before I properly looked into it, but it seemed like the perfect fit for me. It’s much closer to home and I know that I can fit the hours around my various hospital appointments and I know that they will be understanding if I’m having a bad day and can’t make it in.
So, what is it that they do? The programme is specifically aimed at 9-11 year olds (Primary years 5 and 6) to explain about the ChildLine helpline and to keep them aware of the different types of abuse and how to stay safe. The main message that ChildLine wants children and young people to be aware of is that they have the right to be happy and safe and that if they have any worries or concerns, there are people who will listen and give them support. ChildLine have worked really hard to make sure that the content is all age appropriate and really engaging for the children. From what I have seen so far, they get really in to the presentations and are able to remember the key messages.
We start off by going in to give an assembly to all of years 5 and 6, giving a brief overview of how ChildLine works, when they can get hold of us and how, and the different worries and concerns that children and young people may have. It also helps them to think of people who they can trust with these worries and concerns to make them seem less scary.
Then about a week or so later, we go back in for workshops in their individual classrooms. We go through what they have remembered about the assembly and then go in to some more detail about ways to keep happy and safe. They do some group work and are encouraged to ask questions and make sure they understand the message that if anything that is going is making the worried or uncomfortable, then they have the right to say no and speak to someone about what’s happening.
I’m still in the training stages of this, but even though I’ve seen a fair few of these presentations now, I still really enjoy watching every aspect of them. My ‘patch’ is Dorset and Wiltshire and because I am happy to travel, I’ve been lucky enough to see a wide range of different schools from all over the South West. And hopefully soon I’ll be fully trained and ready to go out in to the big bad world without a supervisor keeping notes!
So that’s where I’ve been in between sewing, if I’m AWOL again for a length of time that’s probably where I am, but I will try harder to upload a lot more regularly.
If you are a teacher who thinks that this would work well in your school, please have a look at this link. Parents can always speak to teachers or Headteachers at your children’s school and let them know about this service as well. It’s completely free for the school!
If you are a budding volunteer and think that this sounds right up your street, click on this link and have a read through the information – come and join us!