Nottingham’s tram network welcomed Dame Esther Rantzen as the Childline founder paid the city a two-day visit as part of a UK tour marking Childline’s 30th birthday.
With NET having featured prominently in a heart-rending NSPCC Christmas appeal video entitled Sam’s Story
, Dame Esther led NSPCC staff and volunteers in a bucket collection on the trams to raise funds for vulnerable children.
Sam’s Story told the true story of a man who suffered neglect, sexual and physical abuse as a child before finding the courage to call Childline.
After joining Dame Esther in seeing volunteers on their way into the city centre to raise funds, Stephanie Moss-Pearce, NET’s Assistant Marketing Manager, said: Stephanie Moss-Pearce, NET’s Assistant Marketing Manager, said: “We’re delighted to be assisting Dame Esther and the NSPCC volunteers as they raise money for a fantastic charity with such strong local links.
“We were very happy to help with the shooting of a short film on our trams just before Christmas that carried a very powerful and important message. We hope to continue our support of Childline and the NSPCC long into the future.”
Childline was launched in October 1986 by Dame Esther after a helpline set up following a BBC television programme she presented on child abuse was inundated with calls. Some 23,000 children spoke to Childline in its first year and since then, over four million children have been counselled at 12 Childline bases around the UK.
Last year alone, there were more than 26,000 counselling sessions at Nottingham’s Childline base and over 300,000 nationally.
The most common reasons for children and young people contacting the Nottingham base were concerns around family relationships, low mood and bullying worries.
Back in 1986 Dame Esther realised there was urgent call for an outlet for vulnerable children and three decades later, she believes the need is as pressing as ever.
“The major change since we started has been the arrival of mobile phones and the internet,” said Dame Esther.
“Both liberate children and two thirds of children who contact us, now do so online. But these technologies bring with them new dangers like cyber-bullying, sexting and online grooming which threaten the safety of so many children.”
Dame Esther went on to speak fondly of Nottingham’s charitable spirit.
“This was the first Childline base to open outside of London in 1988,” she said.
“I think there is something about the culture here in Nottingham. Whenever I visit I see a dedication to promoting the cause of vulnerable children. I’m always delighted to come back here and hear stories about Childline’s positive impact on young lives.”