Esther Rantzen appeals for Childline success stories from North Somerset
PUBLISHED: 07:32 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:38 05 September 2017
A TV presenter and founder of Childline is appealing for people in North Somerset to get in touch with her if they have been helped by the support service.
Dame Esther Rantzen launched Childline in 1986 and she is now keen to hear from people who have benefited from the helpline.
Sophie, from Somerset, was one of the first to contact Childline after suffering frequent emotional and physical abuse from her mum.
She was thrown out of her house at the age of 11 and after walking around aimlessly, she called Childline from a phone box.
For the first time she felt listened to and was not treated like a child. She was taken into respite care and ended up staying with a foster family until she was 19.
After a while, Sophie and her mum were able to reconcile and build a relationship.
Childline played an instrumental role in transforming Sophie’s life and Esther Rantzen is keen to hear from other people who have been helped by the support service.
She said: “I will never forget the night we launched Childline in October 1986. Put simply, the phone lines were running red hot.
“In the floor above our office was a huge telephone exchange and a BT engineer took me up to watch the impact of 50,000 attempted calls.
“From then I knew children desperately needed an outlet and a safe space to talk about their problems.
“I still remember some of the calls I took that first night - children in tears describing suffering they had never been able to talk about to anyone else.”
Childline is now part of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) which has enabled the service to launch an online counselling service and phone app, For Me.
Dame Esther said: “But now I need your help. When Childline counsellors talk to young people they get a glimpse into their troubled lives, but they rarely hear the end of the story.
“We need to know how the service helped you in the long-term. Telling us about your experience will enable us to reach many other young people who are still out there in need of our support and advice.
“Please contact me on Esther.Rantzen@nspcc.org.uk”