A group of young people were given special awards yesterday in honour of their volunteering efforts for a national children’s charity.
Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart handed out special Saltire Awards to around 40 young volunteers at the NSPCC’s Childline service in the Granite City.
Based at Ruby Place near Golden Square, the organisation’s 150 Aberdeen volunteers provide support for young people in need of someone to talk to about their problems, either over the phone or through online messaging services.
Although the awards recognised the contribution of young volunteers at Childline, the Aberdeen branch’s volunteer co-ordinator Kerri Stewart said people of all ages are welcome to come and help.
She said: “These awards celebrate the commitment and the number of hours our young volunteers have given as counselors and switchboard operators for our helpline service.
“Our young volunteers are so important to our service, because the more volunteers we have, the more calls we can answer and the more children we can help.
“Childline is often the only place a lot of young people can turn to, so by listening, offering advice and supporting children through their problems, our volunteers make a huge difference.
“Although we’re celebrating our young volunteers today, we welcome people of all ages – as long as you’re over 16, we will happily welcome your help.”
Mr Stewart said the Saltire Awards are Scottish Government-endorsed certificates for people between 12 and 25 years old who have dedicated themselves to volunteering roles.
He said: “It’s always a great pleasure to be able to present these awards to young folk that have given up their spare time to help others.
“Childline is an extremely important service. In today’s day and age, it’s not just telephone calls that are important to young people – communication through the internet is becoming more and more important.
“These volunteers provide a vital and confidential service for any children that aren’t comfortable talking face to face, and they provide them with the initial link to maybe give them the confidence to move on and hopefully deal with their situation elsewhere.”
Young people in need of someone to speak to can call Childline on 0800 1111.