CHILDLINE urgently needs more volunteers to keep up with the number of children seeking help, its founder Dame Esther Rantzen said today as she opened the service’s new base in Nottingham.

New figures reveal Childline in Nottingham carried out 26,019 counselling sessions with children from across the UK in 2017/18, many of whom would have had nowhere else to turn.

Dame Esther, Childline’s founder and president, was officially opening the new base in Clinton Avenue, Nottingham this week.

Childline has been in Nottingham since 1988, but this new site will have space for 10 more counsellors, enabling more than 1,500 additional counselling sessions to be carried out with children each year.

The five most common issues in counselling sessions at the Nottingham base in 2017/18  were mental or emotional health, family relationships, suicide, bullying – both offline and online, and sexual health and relationships.

Dame Esther said: “These figures show Childline is now more important than ever, offering vital and life-changing support and advice to children around the clock.

“This fantastic new base will help us be there for even more children when they need us most.

“But we cannot help those children without volunteers giving up their valuable time, and I would urge anyone interested in carrying out this vital role to get in touch.

“Without Childline, many young people simply would have nowhere else to turn and no one to listen to their concerns. It gives them hope, and genuinely saves lives.”

Nottingham Childline Service Manager Sabrina Taylor said: “Our counsellors do an incredible job and we are delighted to be moving to this new base that gives us more space and the capacity to help more young people.

“We rely on a dedicated group of volunteers, who say they find it so rewarding to be there for a young person when they desperately need support.

“If anyone wants to learn more about volunteering in Nottingham, we would be happy to talk to them.”

Dame Esther also hosted a networking lunch today at the new base with members of the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, where she talked about the important work Childline does.

Across the UK, 175,000 phone calls and online chats from young people were lost to Childline last year due to increasing demand for online, evening and night-time counselling. Currently the dedicated service can only answer three out of every four contacts.

Childline wants to be able to respond to tens of thousands more young people who are desperately trying to contacting the service through its website or on their phones during the peak hours of 4pm and 1am.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Childline in Nottingham can visit https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/volunteering-nspcc-childline/ or call 0121 227 7577.

Children wanting to speak to a counsellor can reach Childline for free and in confidence, open 24/7 on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk.