Childline/NSPCC hub located in city centre
Young victims of sexual abuse are to be supported by the NSPCC and Childline operating from a centralised hub in Derry’s city centre.
Staff from the NSPCC’s service centre, which was previously based at Glendermott Road in the Waterside, have now moved offices and are based with the Childline Foyle team of staff and volunteers at Exchange House in the city centre.
The merger was be officially recognised on Friday at an event attended by NSPCC and Childline staff and volunteers alongside corporate partners, politicians, council representatives and supporters.
Visitors to the Exchange House base were shown the Childline counselling room where volunteers take calls from children from the north west and across the UK.
The delegation also viewed the carefully decorated and resourced therapeutic rooms where the ‘Letting the Future In’ service is delivered.
This service focuses on helping children and young people recover from the traumatic impact of child sexual abuse.
The dedicated and highly skilled team at the service centre, led by Sinéad Hegarty, has been delivering sexual abuse recovery work for almost 20 years in the city.
Individual work is offered to children and young people between the ages of 4 and 17. It aims to help them overcome the impact of their experiences and “get back on track” - giving them back their future.
Support is also offered to parents and carers to help them deal with the impact of abuse on their children and the family as a whole.
Sinéad Hegarty, Service Manager at NSPCC Foyle, says: “We are delighted to be based in the city centre, continuing our commitment to helping children and young people recover from the trauma of child sexual abuse.”
Meanwhile, volunteers at Childline Foyle, which has had a presence in the area since 2007, carried out 6,204 counselling sessions with young people contacting them from across the UK in 2017-18. Thanks to the dedication of Childline’s Foyle volunteers, the base was even open last Christmas Day, counselling children who needed help on the phone or online.
Georgina McGlinchey, Childline service manager, Childline Foyle, says: “Our dedicated team in Foyle has grown over the years and continues to help children and young people from Foyle and across the UK.
“Unfortunately, we can currently answer only three out of four calls and really need more volunteers.
“We provide excellent training and support so would urge anyone who is interested to get in touch with us.”