More volunteers are needed across Cornwall to help protect children from harm. The NSPCC is appealing for volunteers to help teach primary school children about the different types of abuse.
The children’s charity funds a Schools Service across the county, which sees trained members of staff and volunteers deliver free safeguarding sessions in primary schools.
The Speak out Stay safe assemblies and workshops help children aged 5-11 learn in an age-appropriate way about physical, sexual and emotional abuse, as well as neglect and bullying.
During the autumn and spring terms of the 2018/19 academic year alone the sessions were delivered at 20 primary schools across the Duchy, reaching more than 3,600 children.
The service’s mascot Buddy is introduced to children in all the different year groups, who are taught how to identify a trusted adult they can speak to if something is worrying them.
Michelle Green from the NSPCC’s Schools Service in Cornwall says: “We are particularly in need of more volunteers in west and mid Cornwall. Without a devoted team of volunteers, passionate about keeping children safe, it wouldn’t be possible to offer these free safeguarding sessions.
“Some of our volunteers may deliver two sessions a month, whereas others may have the time to deliver one or two a week.
“Our volunteers come from all different backgrounds, but what they all have in common is a shared desire to protect children from harm by educating them about the different kinds of abuse, trusted adults, and the Childline number.”
NSPCC research highlights that on average, two children in every classroom have suffered abuse or neglect, with one in 20 children having been sexually abused. It’s why the charity aims to visit every primary school every three years to deliver the Speak Out Stay Safe programme.
Michelle added: “Our volunteers have to feel comfortable talking about what can be a difficult subject for adults to discuss with children.
“They take our mascot Buddy into schools to help engage the children in a light-hearted way, using simple language and fun activities to help them learn about abuse in a non-scary way.”
One in three children who have been sexually abused by an adult did not tell someone at the time, and so the children learn about the NSPCC’s Childline service and how it can support them at any time of day or night, should they need to talk to someone.
The safeguarding assemblies start conversations around abuse in a live, interactive and memorable way, and pave the way for teachers to continue these discussion with their students in the classroom.
Successful applicants who become volunteers for the Schools Service receive a comprehensive training package, which includes online and face-to-face training, as well as peer mentoring.
Anyone with any concerns about the welfare of a child can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or visit nspcc.org.ukfor advice. Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or visit childline.org.uk for free 24/7, 365 days a year.