Eight volunteers needed to teach Northamptonshire schoolchildren how to stay safe from abuse

At least eight more volunteers are needed to help keep Northamptonshire children safe from abuse
At least eight more volunteers are needed to help keep Northamptonshire children safe from abuse

The NSPCC is looking for eight more amazing volunteers to take special assemblies in Northamptonshire schools.

The simple yet vital Speak Out Stay Safe service from the charity has reached 23,687 children at 92 schools across Northamptonshire in the last school year.

But with an average of two pupils in every primary school having suffered neglect or abuse, the NSPCC wants to reach every child and ease the strain on current volunteers.

Kathryn Brown, area co-ordinator for Northamptonshire, said: "I've got 17 amazing people at the moment from all walks of life from a recent graduate to nurses and retired teachers, and people who work in accounts but we do need to get to at least 25.

"It's become so successful, we need more volunteers to meet demand."

The aim is to reach children twice during their time at primary school - once in Key Stage 1 and again in Key Stage 2.

The half-hour assemblies address child abuse in an age-appropriate way, telling pupils that there are ways of being unkind to children and hurting children but there are also ways of staying safe.

The volunteers participate in more in-depth workshops with the older students while all pupils are taught the Childline number, which is free to call on 0800 1111 if a child feels they have no adult they can talk to or wants to talk to someone anonymously.

Volunteers get two comprehensive days of training and go through a thorough vetting process. They are then offered possible dates for assemblies and they can pick a time and date to suit them.

There is support from more experienced volunteers, who can pair with newcomers. All volunteers also get ongoing training, including how to react if a pupil makes a disclosure.

Although this doesn't happen often, schools often report later that the assembly has prompted a child to tell someone about possible abuse.

Kathryn said: "We get them probably every couple of months. We often hear from schools who say things like: 'We had a feeling something was wrong, the assembly gave him that extra confidence to tell someone.'"

NSPCC volunteer Liz Morfitt, is a retired teacher who has been a Speak Out Stay Safe volunteer in Northamptonshire for four years.

She said: "I felt it's so important to empower children so that if something happens to them in future they know actions they can take and people they can speak to. I feel very proud."

If you’d like to volunteer or, if a teacher, would like to request a visit to your school visit: www.nspcc.org.uk/schoolsservice or email: Kathryn.brown@nspcc.org.uk