Childline will be able to answer more than 4,000 calls from children and young people in their darkest hours this Christmas, thanks to a fundraising auction organised in Manchester.
Attracting bidders from around the world, the Glamour of Manchester Silent Auction included prizes from jewellery and holidays to one-of-a-kind artwork and the chance to name a character in an upcoming Netflix thriller from international author Harlan Coben.
A total of £17,137 was raised by the auction, with a unique illustration from artist Quentin Blake, luxury holidays, jewellery, artwork and the Netflix prize selling for between hundreds and thousands of pounds.
The lucky winner has named a character in Harlan Coben’s Stay Close, which is due to be filmed in Manchester next year and will star James Nesbitt, Cush Jumbo and Richard Armitage – but the character’s name is under wraps for now, as the winner has planned it to be a very special Christmas present.
“I’m absolutely elated. I cried when I saw how much had been raised,” said Vickie Butcher, NSPCC community fundraising manager.
“It was such a different event from the way auctions usually run at the Childline Ball, but we’re over the moon with the amount raised by the auction, and I honestly still haven’t come down.
“It’s been a real team effort, and every £4 means another child who needs to speak to our counsellors can have their call, email or message answered, so we’re hugely grateful to everyone who helped donate lots, organise the auction or who placed a bid.”
Since lockdown began, Childline counsellors have delivered almost 43,000 sessions to young people concerned about their mental or emotional health, experiencing loneliness and low self-esteem or who felt they didn’t fit in or feel ‘normal’, and as the pandemic continues, they say they continue to hear from children who are struggling about all kinds of topics.
Last Christmas, there were 6,566 Childline counselling sessions between 24th December and 4th January, with a 26% increase in counselling sessions about suicidal thoughts and feelings compared to the previous Christmas.
Now, they are calling on the public to donate £20 to the NSPCC to ensure services like Childline can be here to hear children’s troubles at a time of year when it’s all too easy to feel isolated.
Every £4 donated means a Childline counsellor can answer a call, email or message from a young person.
To find out how you can support the NSPCC this Christmas, go to nspcc.org.uk.