NSPCC HELPLINE 0808 800 5000
Coronation Street star, Debbie Rush, who plays Anna Windass in the Salford centred soap, was at the NSPCC's base at the Quays this week to support the charity's high profile campaign to raise awareness of its Helpline.
59 specially trained staff are based at the Quays, taking calls from all over the UK around a whole range of child welfare concerns, from neglect to abuse to difficulties within family relationships.
"We're encouraging people to pick up the phone if they see anything or suspect anything and dial 0808 800 5000 because it's everyone's responsibility to look after a child" said Debbie, who has three children of her own "I know a lot of people are a bit nervous or worried of being involved but you don't have to be involved to make sure that a child is safe – it's as simple as picking the phone up, or e-mailing or getting in touch with someone from the NSPCC who will sort it out.
"Nobody has to even know who you are, so you're not being a busy body or trouble causer" she added "You've got to get involved because we all know it goes on and we need to protect our children. There is nothing to worry about and the people who work here or who are on any of the helplines will put your mind at rest and will deal with it. They're not going to disrupt people's lives or make anything worse, they're just going to help and that's all they're going to do. I've got involved with the NSPCC because some years ago I actually made a call to the NSPCC and they were a great help."
The campaign aims to get everyone to save the Helpline number 0808 800 5000 into their mobile phones, as a modern alternative to the early days of Coronation Street style living…
"It is a community responsibility and it is something that we should all be involved with – I think we've got into a society where too many people shut their doors and just look after their own and I don't think that's right, I think we need a few more old fashioned morals and values in it" said Debbie "I'm sure child abuse has unfortunately gone on for years and years but, before, people would be more aware and say stuff. You've just got to brave enough to come forward and look after each other."
The NSPCC Helpline is staffed by trained nurses, teachers, social workers and counsellors who come from a whole range of social care backgrounds, and Mike Canning, Helpline Manager, said that centre has taken thousands of calls over the last year.
"People can phone up if they've got a concern about a child or just want a bit of advice" he explained "We'll give that advice, and if we feel that the concerns are serious enough we will take the information and pass it onto Children's Services or the police if necessary."
Unfortunately Salford's Children's Services has yet again proved `inadequate' in its latest Ofsted rating on child safeguarding. This followed reviews after the murder of two year old Demi Leigh Mahon, despite police, neighbours and the toddler's grandmother alerting the Council twelve times to her plight.
"I have to say that the response I've had from Salford Children's Services has been exemplary" said Mike Canning.
Maybe if those alerts would have come via the NSPCC they would have been acted on with more urgency.
The NSPCC Helpline is a free 24-hour service open 365 days a year. Phone 0808 800 5000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Anyone who contacts the Helpline can remain completely anonymous, or a form can be filled out anonymously on the NSPCC website www.nspcc.org.uk
FOR YOUNG PEOPLE SEE ARTICLE ON NSPCC CHILDLINE HERE