Childline Supporting children and young people for over 35 years

Our Childline service gives children and young people a voice when no one else is listening. Whatever problems or dangers they face, we give them somewhere to turn to for support when they need it.

Childline is free to contact on 0800 1111. Right now, Childline counsellors are there to take calls from children and young people under 19:

7.30am - 3.30am - Monday to Friday

9am - 3.30am - Saturday to Sunday

Childline counsellors are also available to speak to online through 1-2-1 chat and via email too. 

Always here through the pandemic

Isolated from friends, struggling with online school, no escape from troubles at home, there have so many different ways young people have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, thanks to you, Childline has still been there to support children and young people when they need it most.

Our Childline counsellors are there for young people every day of the year. Whatever issue young people are going through, no matter how big or small, our counsellors are here to listen and help.

As well as online 1-2-1 counselling, children and young people can also speak to Childline counsellors by sending an email from their Locker or by calling 0800 1111. They can explore a range of other useful Childline tools and advice for all sorts of issues they may be dealing with too.

How Childline helps


Childline is a free service for children and young people - here whenever they need support or advice. We've delivered an average of around 17,000 counselling sessions a month since the first national lockdown began.

Childline is here for every child and young person. Whatever problems or dangers they're facing we’re here to listen – 365 days a year.

"I am so immensely grateful that you were there to listen without telling me I am lying, judging me or making me feel worse about myself and that is the amazing thing about these chats, they can save lives."
Girl, aged 14

Children don’t always know who to trust with their worries. Without a safe place to turn, they can put their trust in the wrong person or keep their fears to themselves. Home isn’t a safe place for every child, and the pandemic made even more children feel trapped, lonely, and unsure who to trust.

"I just wanted to say a big thank you to the counsellor I spoke to this morning. I don’t know what I would have done if you had not been there to talk to. You made me feel so much better about myself and gave me hope that maybe I will make it. I am so grateful for everything you have done. I was able to feel like my feelings are valid and that I have worth and a reason to live."
Girl aged 14

Childline gives every child access to free, confidential support whenever they need it. In 2020/21, we delivered 76,000 councilling sessions to children and the young people contacting us for the first time. Childline is always here to listen, whatever their worry.

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Childline is here for children and young people wherever and whenever they need us. Feedback from young people has told us:  

  • Childline helps them feel less alone with their problems 
  • Childline helps them see their problems from a new perspective 
  • Talking about problems with Childline helps them open up with other people. 

Our Childline staff and over 1,200 volunteer counsellors around the UK delivered over 200,000 counselling sessions in 2020/21Hear from Omar, one of our counsellors, about his experience helping children during the pandemic. 

"The volunteers who contribute are exceptional people… [We] are committed to the service continuing because we want to guarantee it is there for children and young people. We realise there is a real need and we are there for them."
Gwenno Huws, Childline volunteer counsellor (Prestatyn)

Children and young people also turn to our website for support online. Our website puts young people first – with games, tools, advice and support about anything from making friends to child abuse. Young people also turn to Childline’s message boards to share their worries with other young people in a safe online space, with over 58,000 posts submitted in total in 2020/21.

"I have been seeing a counsellor at school for the last few years which has helped. I only see them once a week so in between I look at the Childline website for tips on managing anger and stress."
Boy, 13, Childline website user

In 2018 we created childline.org.uk/kids specifically for children under-12, to ensure our information is accessible for young people of all ages.

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The pandemic meant big changes for us all – including Childline. Children needed us more than ever – so we adapted how we deliver our service so our volunteers could continue to support young people safely. As well as practicing social distancing in our service centres, we also created new volunteer roles - answering emails from children and young people - to allow volunteers to work virtually.  

Volunteer for Childline

Between April 2020 and January 2021, Childline counsellors have delivered over 170,000 counselling sessions to children and young people. Mental and emotional health make up over a third of all the counselling sessions delivered, with concerns ranging from coping with stress and loneliness to suicidal thoughts and self-harm. Childline is always here to listen.

Young people also turned to the Childline website for support, advice and distraction throughout the pandemic. Over the last year: 

  • We released new self-help tools to help children cope with feeling low, bored or anxious – including the Coping Kit and the Childline Helper. 
  • The Calm Zone (launched in December 2019), a webpage where young people can go to find calming activities and breathing exercises, saw increasing visits throughout the beginning of the year, growing from 15,300 pageviews throughout February 2020 to more than 10,000 pageviews a week in the last week of April 2020.1  
  • Young people also increasingly turned to Childline’s message boards a safe online forum monitored by our staff – for support and advice from other young people.2

"Most of us go on here because we need help. We’re not happy, we don’t feel safe telling people we know face-to-face, and we feel alone. I honestly thought that not many people must be feeling how I felt, and while it makes me sad to see how many of us aren’t OK, it also makes me so, so thankful that a) I’m not alone, there’s this huge community of people supporting others they don’t even know, just for the sake of humanity and compassion, and b) that all of us on here have the guts to ask for help."
Childline website user

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We want to be there for every child who needs us, no matter what their worry or how they choose to contact us. Children and young people sometimes have to wait for a Childline counsellor to be available. We’re always looking to improve our counselling services and make sure we’re there with them while they wait.

One example of this is the creation of Cubie, our chatbot helper that we've developed with our technology partner O2. Cubie asks important opening questions to children and young people while they wait. It also points them to helpful advice, support and games around the site to try in the meantime.

On average, online counselling sessions take over three times as long as over the phone – and make up around three quarters of our sessions.3 By using a chat bot we can help counsellors and young people by providing them with more information before each session.

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It costs £4 to answer a child’s call for help. Around 90% of our income is donated - we can only be here with your help.4

Donate now

You can help give children and young people a voice when no one else is listening.

Volunteer with us

Hear from some of the young people Childline has helped

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"I have been seeing a counsellor at school for the last few years which has helped. I only see them once a week so in between I look at the Childline website for tips on managing anger and stress."
Boy, 13, Childline website user

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"I just wanted to thank Childline for the chat yesterday. Your support saved my friendship. Everything is better now, and I am so relieved. I will definitely come back to Childline if I ever need support again."
Girl, 11, counselled by Leeds Childline base

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"Having someone reply to me on the message boards to say I helped shows the difference I can make, even if it’s really small. I can be the reason why someone keeps going and it also shows it’s not just me, we’re not alone in what we’re going through and that’s just relief"
Childline message board user

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"I’m so grateful to Childline for listening to me. The advice you give always helps me to think clearer so I can make better decisions in my life. I feel so much better now."
Young person who called Childline, aged 14

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"I really love that you have this community created for all ages. I’ve been trying to find places like this, so thank you for having this where we can talk and support each other. I doubt there is another just as supportive and safe message boards anywhere."
Childline message board user

Supporting deaf children and young people

Childline's Deaf Zone offers a range of services and resources to young people.We're committed to being there for every child who needs us. Childline has a range of advice and resources for children and young people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing.

This includes a SignVideo service which allows children and young people to contact a Childline counsellor via an interpreter.

Visit Childline's Deaf Zone to find out more. 

Childline resources for your child

Any child or young person can write a letter to Sam, and each week Sam answers a few letters to provide people with advice on topics such as relationships, family, school, health, bullying, or feelings. 

Ask Sam a question

Life can sometimes feel overwhelming for young people. Everyone is different, which is why Childline has lots of different exercises and activities in the Calm Zone to help children feel calmer and let go of stress.

Explore the Calm Zone

Sometimes it's just helpful to have a way to take your mind off things and have some fun. Childline has a range of different types of games and puzzles to suit any mood or taste.

Discover Childline games

Young people can share their experiences and talk to others on the Childline message boards. This supportive environment gives them a safe space to speak about how they're feeling or ask questions from those in similar situations. 

Childline message boards

Children can sign-up for a Childline account, where they get their own personal locker. They can then access 1-2-1 counsellor chats, post on the message boards, and save any useful pages on the site - and everything is kept fully confidential. 

Create a locker

Businesses supporting children and young people

Your support helps us continue our vital work with the children and young people who need us most.

On behalf of all the children and young people we help every year, we'd like to say a huge thanks to our partner Lidl GB for committing to raise £2 million over 2 years for our Childline service to help ensure no child goes unheard.

Become a Corporate Partner

Childline highlights through the years

1986

Childline was launched, and on its first night 50,000 children jammed the phone lines. 

1989

Childline successfully campaigned for the Children Act 1989 to promote the safeguarding and welfare of children.

1999

Childline counsels its millionth child.

2000

Childline joins the Home Office taskforce for Child Protection on the Internet - providing advice for industries, parents, and children on how to stay safe online.

2006

NSPCC and Childline formally join forces to support and help more children and young people across the UK.

2009

Childline.org.uk launches, offering children and young people help and advice online for the first time. 

2019 / 2020

Trained volunteer Childline counsellors, alongside a smaller amount of staff counsellors, delivered over 250,000 counselling sessions - providing over 176,000 hours of listening.

2020

Figures show the pressing needs of children and young people during COVID-19 restrictions, with Childline delivering over 100,000 counselling sessions between April and September 2020.


References

  1. 1. The Calm Zone is a relatively new area of the site which was launched in December 2019. Early figures showed levels around 15,300 pageviews per month (February). In March, this grew by 79% to over 27,000 and April saw a further 31% growth to almost 36,000 pageviews with the last week of April hitting a peak of more than 10,000 pageviews in a week.

  2. 2. Message board posts have increased in 2020/21 compared with previous year. 

  3. 3. In 2020/21, the average handling time for an online counselling session was over three times as long as the average for a counselling session by phone. This includes the time taken by the counsellor to record information after the counselling session is finished.

  4. 4. In 2019/20 our total income was £117.6 million. Of this total £93.5 million came from donations and legacies and a further £9.0 million came from activities undertaken for the purpose of raising funds (like dinners and balls, auctions and challenge events). This gives a total of £102.5 million from our supporters, or 87% of all income.