Tyne Bridge and landmarks in North East go green in support of Childline as service prepares to deliver hundreds of counselling sessions a day over festive period

Tyne Bridge and landmarks in North East go green in support of Childline as service prepares to deliver hundreds of counselling sessions a day over festive period

  • Last year, Childline delivered more than 5,500 counselling sessions to children needing support over the 12 days of Christmas – averaging 450 a day.
  • The service saw an increase in children reaching out with worries about family relationships since the previous year.

As Childline, the counselling service run by the NSPCC, prepares to remain open as a lifeline for children and young people this festive season, North East landmarks are lighting up green in support.

Next Friday 22nd December – on the longest night of the year – landmarks across the North East including The Tyne Bridge, Newcastle Civic Centre and the Newcastle Castle Keep, will join dozens more across the UK in lighting up green to create a striking visual reminder that Childline is there for children and young people in their darkest hours.

Last year, the service delivered 5,501 counselling sessions during the 12 days of Christmas (December 24 to January 4) – averaging out at around 450 per day – with volunteers and staff working right through the festive holiday, including Christmas Day. During that period, counsellors saw a 7% increase in concerns about family relationships compared with the previous year.

The public can help raise vital funds for the service by rallying your friends and family to sign up to the Walk for Children and walk 5k on the 22nd of December.

As this year’s festive season fast approaches, Childline counsellors know that while many children will be looking forward to spending time with their loved ones, for others Christmas can be a challenging time.

For some, spending an extended amount of time at home with their family can lead to tensions or amplify existing issues and this can leave many children feeling upset and isolated.

A spokesperson for Newcastle Castle said: “We’ll be lighting up Newcastle’s iconic Castle Keep in green on the 22nd of December to show our support for all the people taking part in the NSPCCs Walk for Children. On the longest and darkest night of the year we hope they’ll be able to see Newcastle Castle against the skyline, and we wish them all the best with their fundraising!”

The family related concerns that children shared with Childline last Christmas included:

  • Increased family conflict. 
  • Facing their first Christmas without a loved one.
  • Struggling to cope with their own mental health or family members who have mental health issues.
  • Concerns about parents or carers drinking more than usual over the Christmas period.
  • Feeling worried or guilty about Christmas placing additional financial pressure on their family.
  • Struggling with eating or body issues, such as feeling pressure to eat more than usual, worried about eating in front of other people or having to hide disordered eating habits.

Shaun Friel, Childline Director added: “At Childline, our trained counsellors know that sadly not every child feels happy over the Christmas period.

“The festive season can be a high-pressured time for families, and we hear from thousands of children during the twelve days of Christmas who need our help and support.

“For some the issues they encounter all year round can worsen over the festive season and for others it can present new concerns.

“With schools closed and children having limited access to wider support networks, we know for those who are struggling that Childline can be a lifeline.”

Other sites in the North East that will be going green to support Childline includes Sunderland Civic Centre and North Tyneside Council’s offices in Killingworth. Further afield, the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland, St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, London’s Alexandra Palace, Oxford Castle and Prison, Enniskillen Castle in Northern Ireland and Newport Civic Centre in Wales will be lit up to highlight the work of the children’s charity and the help it provides young people in their darkest hours.

To enable the charity to be there for all children this festive season, visit the NSPCC website to donate to the charity’s Christmas appeal. Just £4 could help a counsellor answer a call.

Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or childline.org.uk

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