Childline says they are desperate for volunteers to be trained at their bases in Glasgow and Aberdeen as volunteers fall by 40% and their helpline continues to see an increase due to the pandemic affecting the mental health of young people .
In Scotland, only 157 people are currently volunteering, losing the 2019/20 target of 261 by 40%.
According to the NSPCC, the charity run by Childline, the decline since the blockade began in March is due to volunteer self-isolation, protection as well as a reduction in staff entering the centers due to social distancing rules.
The NSPCC says they are desperate for volunteers for evening and weekend shifts in Glasgow and Aberdeen where their main Childline bases are in Scotland.
A NSPCC spokesman in Scotland said the charity would need at least 100 more volunteers to make sure they could provide the support they needed.
The decline in call availability holders follows an increase in the number of calls from young people affected by the coronavirus.
Between April and December, the NSPCC recorded an 82% increase across the UK in the number of contacts made in relation to children experiencing emotional abuse, compared to pre-block levels 3.
In Scotland, the number of contacts related to mental and emotional health was 3,112.
Speaking to BBC GMS this morning, Childline Service Manager Leanne Ferries in Aberdeen said the charity is undoubtedly concerned that increasing calls and reducing volunteers will prevent young people from switching to charity.
She said: Weve had queues every night at the moment and young people are in school at the moment which means we have an increase in phone calls during the day so the more people we have the more young people we can help.
“We are a life-saving service – this is the ultimate end indeed.
As you can imagine it is a really scary time for young people, especially during the blockade, we have seen an increase in calls at that time because it is definitely the time when young people are isolated.
The First Minister announced yesterday that it is highly unlikely that the full blockade in Scotland will be lifted by the end of the month.
Comment on the strongest restrictions that may remain. Ms Ferries said: “This is going to have an impact on the mental health of young people and what we need to do is have a long-term recovery plan and support for young people because we do not want this generation to be defined as pandemic or with jam so that more specialized support we can decide for the future, the better.
Childline also offers an email service which was set up during the block, where teens can talk by email to a remote advisor.
All training for counseling volunteers is taking place online with an average duration of 12 weeks.
Ms Ferries said: “Any age can volunteer – we have people aged 16 and our oldest volunteer at the moment is 102. As long as you have a desire to help young people and have a good listening ear, we can train you to do the rest
People can sign up to volunteer on the NSPCC website under Get Involved and there are also virtual meetings on offer where people can get an idea of what it is like to volunteer with charity.
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