Northern Ireland news

NSPCC launch emergency appeal to raise vital funds to support children and families

Lee Colligan, a Childline counsellor from Carrickfergus, said it is "clear to see our young people are very anxious and worried" about the coronavirus pandemic
Marie Louise McConville

The NSPCC has launched an emergency appeal to help raise vital funds to support families and children around the UK.

As part of the `We're still here for children' campaign, members of the public are being asked to go to the NSPCC website and donate £10 which will help ensure the charity can continue to answer calls and be there for young people who desperately need someone to talk to, especially when home is not a safe place.

The launch comes as the charity revealed that between January 21 this year and April 8, Childline delivered more than 2,200 counselling sessions across the UK to children and young people who were concerned about Coronavirus.

In Northern Ireland, 246 counselling sessions were delivered at Childline bases at Belfast and Foyle.

Lee Colligan, a Childline counsellor from Carrickfergus, said: "During this Coronavirus pandemic, it is clear to see our young people are very anxious and worried about the whole situation.

"Young people are concerned about the unknown with the virus, and the fact it could affect them or someone they care about," he said.

"The fact children are now at home and don't have their school as a support network is causing them much distress.

"For many young people, schools and the support of their teachers is essential for their mental health. This coupled with the fact they can no longer see their friends is leaving them very lonely".

The 31-year-old, who works in the education sector and who also plays Carrick Rangers FC, added: "I would estimate that the majority of all my recent contacts are mentioning the Coronavirus to some degree.

"The unknown of the virus and everything that comes with it appears to be overwhelming for many of our young people," he said.

To donate to the appeal, visit www.nspcc.org.uk

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