The NSPCC is looking for volunteers in Derbyshire to help teach children how to keep themselves safe from abuse.
During Volunteers Week, which runs until Thursday (June 7), the charity is celebrating the contribution of its dedicated supporters while also appealing for others to get involved.
Last year, the NSPCC’s ‘Speak Out. Stay Safe’ programme reached 35,486 primary school pupils in Derbyshire, giving them the knowledge and the understanding they need to stay safe from abuse and neglect.
With the help of mascot Buddy, specially trained volunteers deliver child-friendly, age appropriate, interactive assemblies to children aged five to 11, plus a one hour classroom workshop for children in Years 5 and 6.
By the end of the visit the children will understand the different forms of abuse, and who they can turn to for help should they ever need it, including Childline.
A wide variety of people volunteer for the NSPCC, each with their own reason for wanting to help.
Among the NSPCC Schools Service’s volunteers in Derbyshire is Christina (not her real name), who was emotionally and physically abused by her stepmother as a child.
As a result, she suffered severe anxiety and depression as an adult, resulting in her attempting suicide. After counselling and treatment, she started volunteering for the Schools Service and says it has changed her life.
She said: “Volunteering for the NSPCC Schools Service has given me back the confidence that had been destroyed through years of abuse as a child. I absolutely love volunteering for the NSPCC and going into schools for presentations and workshops.
“I know first-hand how abuse can affect a child and prevent them from reaching their full potential. This is why I had a strong motivation for wanting to get involved with an organisation that works to protect children.”
She added: “I got involved with the NSPCC because I didn’t want other children to suffer like I did, and for it to affect them into adulthood. When I look back I think there’s so many opportunities I’ve wasted and so much I could have done. My life could have been so different if the Schools Service and Childline had been around when I was a child. If ‘Speak Out. Stay Safe’ had been delivered in my school then I would have spoken about it sooner.
“No words can describe the immense pride I feel when I receive feedback about a child who has spoken out about abuse as a result of a visit into school and which has then resulted in them getting the help they need and deserve.
“Knowing I am making a difference to a child's life is something very special. However something I really didn't expect to happen was how much volunteering has changed my life. Family and friends who knew me before find it hard to believe I'm the same person.”
To become an NSPCC Schools Service volunteer or to find out more, visit www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do, call 0121 227 7577 or email VolunteerRecruitment@nspcc.org.uk.