One of South London’s biggest landmarks turned green on December 21 to give its backing to support for children in distress.
Battersea Power Station’s iconic chimneys shone green in support of the NSPCC’s ‘Here For Children’ campaign on the longest night of the year.
Hundreds of people did a ‘Walk For Children’ 5k to support the NSPCC while the building paid tribute to hard-working Childline counsellors who are there for children, offering a beacon of light in their darkest times.
One in five children in the UK have suffered abuse and thousands of children will call Childline in London during the holidays to talk about their fears.
December 2020 saw Childline deliver a record number of counselling sessions for a single month, with the service delivering nearly 600 in December alone. Loneliness is particularly affecting younger children. In 2020/21, there was a 47 percent increase in counselling sessions with children aged 11 and under when compared to the year before.
The NSPCC is reaching out to the public to support its Here for Children Appeal and make a donation, so Childline counsellors can answer a child’s call for help this Christmas.
One Childline counsellor who will be volunteering his time this December is New Malden resident Aaron Hearne. Aaron, who recently became an honorary member of the NSPCC Council, spoke at the charity’s annual Merry Little Christmas concert in Sloane Square on December 9.
The concert saw over 400 guests come together at the Holy Trinity Church in Sloane Square in London for the first time in two years for a magical evening filled with carols, children’s choirs and celebrity readings. NSPCC Ambassador for Childline Natalie Dormer, Holby City star Richard Pepper, and actors Georgia Lock and Alex Jennings all delivered a festive reading.
Aaron is also founder of The Liam Charity, a fundraising and awareness group for ChildLine set up in memory of his brother Liam Hearne who took his own life at the age of just 14.
He said at the event: “To honour Liam on his 25th I worked an evening shift at Childline. It was like any other until my last contact of the evening, where spoke with a young girl – all contacts take a bit of your heart but this one was the first that broke me just that little bit more – as it was so close to home.
“She was 14 years old, conflicted between if it was their time to leave or reaching out for help from her family. She was at home with her mother and older sibling, which she said loved and cared for her so much. The only barrier stopping her from reaching out, was the fear of being a burden, was that she loved them too much.
“Our chat lasted for 1 hour 27 minutes and 58 seconds and I felt every second. That night Childline saved a life and all it cost £12 and a little bit of my time.
“What I want you to ask yourselves tonight is how can I help a child like Liam in their desperate time of need? The best way to help in this moment in time, is undoubtedly by pledging to support Childline and to donate funds directly to this amazing service.
“A donation is never too little when it is given with love, so please give what you can. For that young girl, for Liam, For Every Childhood.”
All the money raised from Merry Little Christmas will go to the NSPCC’s Childline counselling service.
Shaun Friel, Head of Childline, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Battersea Power Station for turning green again to help raise awareness of the NSPCC’s ‘Here For Children’ Christmas appeal.
“The festive period can be especially difficult for children who are struggling with their mental health or are in homes that are unsafe. Given the impact of the pandemic, it is no surprise that this year we’ve seen record numbers of children get in touch with us about loneliness.
“Our Childline service will be running every day over the Christmas holidays, and we thank organisations like Battersea Power Station for raising awareness of this.”
Simon Murphy, CEO of Battersea Power Station Development Company said: “We are proud to light Battersea Power Station’s iconic chimneys green again this Christmas for the ‘Here For Children’ appeal to help raise awareness of the important role the NSPCC’s Childline plays in supporting children who are suffering from neglect, abuse or struggling with their mental health, especially during the festive season which can be an extremely lonely time. We are also illuminating the chimneys green on 21st December, the longest night of the year, to show our support for everyone participating in the ‘Walk for Children 5k’. Good luck to all those taking part!”
Adults worried about a child’s welfare can call the NSPCC’s Helpline 24/7 on 0808 800 5000. Children and young people can call Childline on 0800 1111 or visit www.childline.org.uk
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