Childline volunteers will be working around the clock to ensure struggling young people have someone to talk to over the festive season.
Volunteers expect to deliver hundreds of counselling sessions to children who are dealing with issues including abuse, family relationships and mental health problems.
During the festive season last year, Childline counsellors carried out 8,326 counselling sessions between December 24 2017 and January 4 2018.
Of these, 1,048 counselling sessions were delivered by volunteers at Childline’s Glasgow base while the Aberdeen base completed 447 counselling sessions with children contacting them from across the UK.
During this period, 475 of the contacts from young people were identified as being from Scotland, with 377 of the sessions being with girls.
Jayne Laidlaw, Childline manager from the Glasgow base, said: “At Christmas time, the kindness and compassion volunteers have for hundreds of children and young people in very desperate situations is truly heart-warming.
“Many children are affected by family relationship problems over the festive season which can be exacerbated by adults consuming too much alcohol or tensions becoming more fraught due to financial difficulties.
“Our dedicated Childline volunteer counsellors are there day and night to listen to children throughout Christmas and into the New Year providing a vital lifeline to those without anywhere else to turn.”
Last Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, Childline delivered 1,819 counselling sessions across the UK, a 10% increase on the same days in the previous year.
On Christmas Day 2017 volunteers carried out 511 counselling sessions with children – up from 495 in 2016 and 409 in 2015.
Laura Jukes, 21, a counsellor at Childline’s Glasgow base, is among the volunteers working over the festive period.
She said: “Christmas can be a very difficult time for many children and young people. Some children may not have a family to spend Christmas with or there may be problems going on at home or it may be that a child is struggling with the loss of a loved one.
“Alcohol is often involved in Christmas as well, which can be difficult for those who have a family member or a family friend who is a problem drinker or who may become abusive.
“There are many reasons why Christmas can be difficult and it is extremely important that every single child and young person knows that they do not need to go through anything on their own.”
Children and young people can contact Childline anytime on 0800 1111 or find support online at www.childline.org.uk
Childline founder Dame Esther Rantzen said: “Christmas for many people is a happy time of year.
“But, at Childline, we know only too well that isn’t always the case for thousands of children and young people across the UK. For many it can be an extremely difficult time of year which can leave them in a very dark place.
“Thankfully Childline doesn’t close at Christmas and that is all thanks to our fantastic staff and volunteers who will be working around the clock, including Christmas Day, to ensure someone is there day or night to help any child or young person in need of advice or support, be it online or over the phone.”