NSPCC visit Hartlepool school as part of ground-breaking service

Barnard Grove School pupils with Louise Willis Keeler, (left) Lisa Larkin and David Warburton
Barnard Grove School pupils with Louise Willis Keeler, (left) Lisa Larkin and David Warburton

VOLUNTEERS from a leading children’s charity visited a Hartlepool primary school as part of a ground-breaking service.

NSPCC workers held an assembly at Barnard Grove Primary School to talk sensitively to youngsters about abuse.

The charity is appealing for more adults in Hartlepool to be trained as volunteers to work with town schools and deliver the ChildLine Schools Service.

Hilary Thompson, Barnard Grove School’s parent support advisor, helped arrange the visit after a previous meeting with the NSPCC.

She said: “I thought it was really important for our children to know there is somebody out there to help them if they need it and they have a voice.

“I was so impressed with the assembly. Everything was age appropriate and it was delivered in a child friendly way, but really got the message across.”

ChilLine Schools Service volunteers David Warburton and Lisa Larkin spoke to Year 5 and 6 pupils and showed a video.

The service will return to the school later to hold classroom workshops.

Former teacher David, 63, who lives in Yarm, said: “I was looking for some volunteer work after I retired and saw an advert for ChildLine working in schools so applied.

“There have been situations in the past that have come to light where children haven’t been listened to.

“This programme is about telling children they have a right to be safe and happy.”

The service has visited 10 Hartlepool schools and talked to more than 700 children it began in June 2012.

But it plans to work with every primary school in town with the help of more volunteers.

Programme leaders are working through a number of recent enquiries and applications.

Louise Willis-Keeler, ChildLine Schools Service area coordinator for Teesside, said: “Volunteers are vital to the success of the ChildLine Schools Service and we really need local people to come forward to help us reach every primary school in Hartlepool.

“We are looking for people from all walks of life who can communicate and engage with children and are willing to learn new skills and work with other volunteers.”

For details email louise.williskeeler@nspcc.org.uk or visit www.nspcc.org.uk/volunteer.