Volunteer for Childline

We couldn’t keep the Childline service running 24/7 without the help of our volunteers.

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Make a difference to children’s lives by being there when they feel they have no one else to turn to.

Already volunteer with us? Sign in to the volunteer portal

What you'll do

As a Childline volunteer you'll be there for young people when they feel they have no one else to turn to, by giving a regular shift of up to 4 hours each week at one of our 12 Childline bases across the UK.

Our trained volunteer counsellors listen and respond to young people who have got in touch via phone, online chat or email. Our counsellors support young people whatever is worrying them, whether it’s bullying, abuse, self-harm or family relationships.

As a Childline administrator, you’ll work alongside other Childline volunteers and use your organisational skills to offer administrative support to a Childline base – making sure daily tasks run as smoothly as possible.

You’ll be on hand to take care of tasks such as, helping staff prepare for training sessions, organising volunteer packs, photocopying training materials and sorting out any post as well as handling other essential administrative duties.

Volunteer today and join our fight for every childhood

How you'll help children

Our Childline service is a confidential place for children to contact – over the phone or online – whatever their worry. We couldn’t keep the service running without the help of our volunteers.

There were almost 240,000 Childline counselling sessions with children and young people last year

Explanation: Childline provided 237,247 counselling sessions to children and young people in 2019/20.

What you'll get out of it

As a Childline volunteer you’ll get the opportunity to:

  • learn valuable new skills
  • be part of a friendly team of like-minded people
  • be there for children across the country.

Key details

Role titles

Childline switchboarder, Childline counsellor, Childline email counsellor, Childline night service counsellor, Deaf Childline volunteer counsellor, Childline administrator

Activity type

Volunteering with children

Administrative support

Location

Available in 12 UK locations:

Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Foyle, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Nottingham, Prestatyn, Salford

Commitment

4 hours per week (plus initial training)

Minimum commitment of 12 months

Availability

Shifts available 24 hours a day

 

Interested? Find a role near you

Not right for you?

There are so many ways to get involved and help children, and we’d love to have you on our team.

Whether you can spare an hour or two, or want to get involved more often, whatever time you can give is invaluable.

See other roles

Training and support

You’ll receive training to prepare you for the role and a supervisor will be around at all times to support you during and after your shifts. Every shift includes a briefing and debriefing alongside other volunteers. Supervisors will also give you regular one-to-one support and group supervision.

Volunteer counsellors receive training sessions over 11 weeks and volunteer switchboarders have one training session before they get started.

Who's right for the role?

While we think our Childline roles are suitable for a whole range of people, we are particularly looking for those with the following qualities and experience:

  • passionate about helping young people and children
  • great communication skills
  • empathetic and perceptive
  • able to think on your feet
  • works well within a team
  • emotional resilience.

Signing up to be a Childline volunteer is a big commitment and requires training so we do ask people to stay in the role for a minimum of one year.

We’ll also need to do some routine safeguarding checks. It’s nothing to worry about, and we can answer any questions you have about this.

Still have questions?

Speak to our team for more information on our volunteer roles.

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Call: 0121 227 7577

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Email: volunteerrecruitment@nspcc.org.uk

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


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.