Dame Esther Rantzen visits ChildLine volunteers in Manchester

ChildLine founder joins longstanding volunteers in celebrating 22 years of the service in Manchester

Dame Esther Rantzen and ChildLine volunteers in ManchesterWith the New Year well underway, many people would have thought about starting something new - like the gym, or giving up chocolate. But not many people think about giving up something as precious as their time.

However, that’s exactly what 3 ChildLine volunteers in Manchester were praised for last month, after giving up over 40 years between them to listen and help children and young people from across the UK.

ChildLine founder, Dame Esther Rantzen, visited the ChildLine base in Manchester to personally thank the volunteers and staff for the vital support they have given over the 22 years since ChildLine came to Manchester. Three volunteers in particular were recognised with long standing service awards:

  • Alison Berry - 10 years' service
  • Alistair Gray - 10 years' service
  • Trudy Barres - 20 years' service

The trio have each given 4 hours a week, every week, for the past few years to volunteer at ChildLine and be the calming voice at the other end of the phone when a child needs help.


ChildLine volunteers in Manchester with Dame Esther Rantzen

There's a range of reasons why people choose to volunteer. Trudy Barres, from Prestwich, has been volunteering since July 1995. She said:
"I became a volunteer for ChildLine because I had been looking after my sick husband for 12 years but he died in December 1994, and I found that I had some time on my hands. I find volunteering extremely rewarding and it's heart-warming to know that we are providing a lifeline for many troubled children.

"The service has developed so much over all these years, but I still really enjoy meeting new people and get a great deal from helping ChildLine in any way I can"

"Some young people really need someone to listen to them confidentially, no matter what time of day it is so it’s really important that ChildLine is there for them. That’s why the service is so vital and I am happy I can give my time and do something to support them."
Alistair Gray, Wilmslow / ChildLine volunteer

Alistair, aged 41 from Wilmslow has been volunteering for the past 10 years. He told us;
"I get a real buzz from volunteering at ChildLine. Volunteering is very rewarding and the people who work at the base are always very supportive. You are expected to do just a four hour shift once a week.

"The training really does equip you to perform the role, which has a real variety of phone and online chats from young people. I also find that the listening skills from the training have helped a great deal with my working life as well.

"Some young people really need someone to listen to them confidentially, no matter what time of day it is so it's really important that ChildLine is there for them. That's why the service is so vital and I am happy I can give my time and do something to support them."

Last November, marked the 22nd anniversary of the base in Manchester, which Esther herself opened on 23 November 1992. Over the last 12 months, (April 1, 2013 - March 31, 2014), the ChildLine base in Manchester dealt with 35,745 counselling sessions with children and young people from across the UK, either by phone or via its online service.

"I have been volunteering for 10 years and I'm pleased to be part of such a dedicated team of people. For many children, we make a real difference. I am happy to give up my time for such an important cause."
Alison Berry, Altrincham / ChildLine volunteer

The Manchester ChildLine base, and many others across the UK, are still in need of volunteers. Trudy, Alistair and Alison demonstrate how much the service is valued  and that there is always a need for someone at the end of the phone. Alison, from Antrincham said:
"As ChildLine volunteers, we provide advice and support to children who feel that they can't talk to anyone else. Sometimes, the most important thing for them is that someone is really listening.

"I have been volunteering for 10 years and I'm pleased to be part of such a dedicated team of people. For many children, we make a real difference. I am happy to give up my time for such an important cause."

Volunteer for Childline

Volunteer for Childline helpline and be there when a child needs you most.
Volunteer for Childline