Volunteers sought for NSPCC abuse talks in Cambridgeshire schools

Volunteer: Pam Pepper

Volunteer: Pam Pepper - Credit: Archant

A charity which gives a voice to children so they can speak out about abuse is looking for volunteers.

The NSPCC wants to recruit people who are prepared to give up some spare time to help children by delivering its Speak Out Stay Safe service in Cambridgeshire’s primary schools.

The scheme provides age-appropriate safeguarding assemblies and workshops to help children recognise and report abuse.

Pam Pepper, a retired civil servant from Sawtry, who has been volunteering with the schools’ service for two years, delivers assemblies in Huntingdon, Peterborough, Wisbech, and as far afield as Ely.

Pamela, 66, said: “After an assembly I gave, a girl in Year 6 came up to me and said she was quite worried about starting ‘big school’ in September, and asked if she could call Childline about that. Of course, I said yes.

“Giving children the language to explain things that happen to them, telling them it’s never a child’s fault if they experience abuse, and that there is someone who will listen, is all something I am very proud to be a part of.”

Pam said: “I hadn’t heard of Speak Out Stay Safe or the NSPCC’s schools service before, but I thought it sounded like such a good idea – telling children they have a voice and they can speak out about abuse is an incredible thing.

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“The training is very, very supportive and you can do things at your own pace – you aren’t pressured to deliver your first assembly quickly, you can wait until you feel ready.

She added: “Initially, I wasn’t sure how such serious messages would be conveyed to children, but the thoughtful wording and interactive nature of the assemblies engages them in an age-appropriate way. The topic is a serious one, but children go away having had fun and feeling uplifted, rather than frightened, by what they’ve learnt.”

Speak Out Stay Safe gives a generation of children the knowledge and understanding they need to stay safe from abuse and neglect. Pupils are taught to speak out if they are worried, either to a trusted adult or to Childline.

Last year volunteers spoke to nearly 30,000 children in Cambridgeshire, delivering assemblies to 90 schools in the county.

Michelle Newton, schools service area coordinator, said: “We have had children who have spoken out about abuse as a direct result of our volunteers going into schools delivering the programme.

“It is so rewarding for the volunteers to know they have directly helped a child, and we give every one of them excellent training so they know how to manage these situations.”

Interviews for prospective volunteers are scheduled for Wednesday, August 22.

To find out more about Speak Out Stay Safe, visit the website www.nspcc.org.uk/services-and-resources/working-with-schools/speak-out-stay-safe-service.