CHILDLINE in Limerick received almost 50,000 calls from young people in need of help last year.
The service, run by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, is staffed locally by a team of 50 volunteers who each give up four hours of their free time every week to answer calls.
These Limerick-based volunteers answered 47,598 calls last year, but further help is required and Childline are currently recruiting new volunteers to join their team.
Rhona McGinn, regional manager for the West/Mid-West region of the ISPCC who has responsibility for the Limerick office, said there had been a “dramatic increase” in calls to the service over the last number of years.
“The trend nationally is that, overall, the numbers of calls have gone up and we have seen a huge increase in the number of calls answered, the number of texts received and responded to and the number of hits to the website,” she explained.
Childline have been based in Limerick for more than 20 years. While they have a committed group of volunteers, more are needed, and a training course will be held in the summer to those interested.
“I know it can seem daunting and seem like a lot is being asked of you, but the feedback we get from volunteers is that you are very well equipped to respond to the calls and the needs of children when you answer the phones,” explained Ms McGinn.
“The training course is extensive and you learn a lot that people tend to find travels to their own personal lives and helps them with other aspects of communication. I think a lot of our volunteers really feel once they start answering the calls that they enjoy it and realise how much the service users value the service they provide.”
Contact Childline Limerick on 061-400077 if you are interested in volunteering.