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Thousands of young people turn to Childline for gender and sexuality support

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THOUSANDS of children and young people across the UK continue to turn to Childline with queries and concerns about gender and sexuality.

Over the past 12 months the NSPCC service delivered 2,419 counselling sessions related to these issues. Where gender was known, 62% of these counselling sessions was with young people who identified as trans or non-binary.

The charity has released this data to mark Pride Month and to remind all children and young people that Childline offers free, impartial and non-judgemental support to everyone, no matter the topic.

The top five concerns discussed around sexuality and gender identity were:

  • Coming out
  • Questioning sexuality/gender identity
  • Gender dysphoria (where young people feel there is a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity)
  • Bullying based on gender or sexuality
  • Discrimination and/or prejudice

Young people also contacted the service to talk about homophobia and transphobia they felt they had experienced or witnessed, either first-hand, online or through the media. Concerns are also being discussed that include waiting lists for services, such as gender identity services.

This Pride Month, the NSPCC is letting all young people know that Childline is there for them. The charity will be at Pride events up and down the country, which will be sponsored by Lidl GB, to show their support.

Thousands of people joined the Pride Cymru parade in Cardiff on Saturday in Wales’ biggest celebration of equality and diversity.

And last week, NSPCC Cymru staff joined hundreds to show their support at Cowbridge Pride where H from Steps led the celebrations.

Through their Talk Relationships service, the NSPCC is also supporting secondary school teachers to feel more confident when delivering sessions around healthy relationships and leading inclusive discussions.

Childline is encouraging adults to be understanding and respectful when young people are exploring their sexuality and gender identity, as well as being there for any young person who wishes to discuss these topics. Childline is also a safe space for young people to explore this subject and there are resources available online for both children and parents.

Many young people will approach Childline to speak to a trained counsellor if they are finding it difficult to reach out to a trusted friend or adult to discuss these topics.

One young person, aged 15, told Childline: “I’m struggling to let my parents know I’m gay. I’ve told my sister, and that went well, but I know my parents will be dismissive and just say I’m too young to know for sure. I don’t want them to change everything about how they see me because of my identity, but at the same time I want them to accept and love me for who I really am.”

Concerns around bullying due to gender and sexuality issues are also being addressed by counsellors – Childline provided over 330 counselling sessions in the past year where young people mentioned this type of bullying.

Shaun Friel, Childline Director, said: “Young people may worry about judgement or a lack of acceptance when expressing their thoughts and concerns around sexuality and gender identity.

“That is why it’s crucial that there are confidential and non-judgemental spaces such as Childline where children can share freely and feel supported. This Pride Month, the service remains as committed as ever to helping young people with these concerns.”

Childline is available for young people via the phone on 0800 1111 and online through the 121 chat on the Childline website.

Children can also visit the website to find more advice on any concerns or questions they may have on gender identity and sexuality. There is the service’s moderated message boards to get support from their peers.

For parents and carers, the NSPCC also has information on its website on how to talk to children about their sexuality and advice on how to help keep them safe.

For the second year, Lidl GB is sponsoring the NSPCC’s presence at Pride events in Great Britain, helping the charity to demonstrate that it is there for all children and young people. Lidl GB’s funding covers the cost of the NSPCC’s entry to Pride events as well as the NSPCC and Childline Pride t-shirts and banners to ensure there is a powerful presence at each event. Lidl GB has been partnered with the NSPCC for over 7 years and is currently supporting young people with their mental health by raising money for Childline. It has raised over £9 million for the NSPCC to date.

Charity

NSPCC launches Voice of Online Youth to give young people in Wales 

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A TEENAGER from Wales is among a group of 15 young people from across the UK who will make up a new forum of young people to advise the NSPCC, politicians, regulators, parents and professionals about the best way to protect children online.

The ‘Voice of Online Youth’ is a group aged 13-16 from across the UK who are passionate about helping children to have safe and happy experiences online.

They aim to get young people’s voices heard and ensure decisions about online safety are informed by their unique experiences. They will do this by meeting with decision makers across all nations of the UK, attending events, and engaging in workshops.

The Voice of Online Youth is formed of ten people from England, two from Scotland, two from Northern Ireland, and one from Wales, Maelon, 13 from South Wales, leading to a diversity of perspectives and life experiences within the group.

The group, which officially launched today (June 28th), forms as Ofcom consults on its initial plans to regulate social media under the Online Safety Act.

Maelon, 13, from Maesteg says, “I joined the Voice of Online Youth because I wanted to help more people who have been negatively affected online and I thought the role would suit me well.”

Shalom, 14, from Bolton, says, “I wanted to join the group because I think the online world is such a wonderful place and I want to contribute to making it so young people can navigate the online world and discover new opportunities while also being a safe space for us to be in.”

Rayhaan, 17, from Leicester, says,’ “I want to spread awareness about the many issues facing young people on the internet today. Together, I hope we can work towards a future where everyone is safe online.”

Young people’s voices were central in the NSPCC’s Wild West Web campaign which called for the Online Safety Act. The charity made sure key decision makers heard about young people’s experiences and what they thought needed to change. The Voice of Online Youth will build on this through giving children a vital voice in the implementation of the act.

Sir Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive: “The Voice of Online Youth will offer valuable insight and a unique perspective to the NSPCC, bolstering our efforts to ensure children’s online safety is prioritised.

“This group can also help shape the thinking of policymakers and regulators, who desperately need to be considering the views of those impacted by online challenges to truly understand the issues they face.

“It’s crucial Ofcom engage with young people when implementing the new online safety regulation to ensure it is effective and results in a truly safer online world which children can enjoy.”

The NSPCC also want the next Government to ensure children and young people’s voices and experiences are meaningfully considered in the development and implementation of online safety regulation through introducing statutory mechanisms to ensure their voices are consistently heard.

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Charity

Paul Sartori receives donation to continue support to Dementia patients

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PAUL SARTORI Hospice at Home, a local charity, supporting end of life and palliative patients, their families and carers have recently been awarded a grant from Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust. The grant of £10,000 has been given to extend its previous support given to patients living at home with dementia in Pembrokeshire.

“This funding has come at a crucial time for us. We had funding for a few trails where we recognised a need for support. We know the difference this care makes to local families supporting a relative with dementia at home. It can be exhausting. Quite often they cannot leave their loved one unattended and they get very little time to themselves, which can have a great impact on the family carer. This project will increase the resilience of the family carer and support the patient in a familiar environment where they feel comfortable and secure,” said Laura Hugman, Clinical Team Manager at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home.

The award will fund up to 232 hours of hands-on home nursing care, allowing day and night-time respite for those families who are struggling. Families can access support during the day – so they can address their own care needs, attend appointments, catch up with friends, enjoy their hobbies or just rest. Families who need respite can also access support during the night. They will have peace of mind knowing that their loved one is looked after by Paul Sartori staff who are experienced and trained in many complex medical conditions.

“We were delighted to hear that the Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust have agreed to support this much-needed provision in Pembrokeshire,” said Judith Williams, Grant Development Officer at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home.

“The Elise Pilkington Trust were delighted to be able to support this important work at Paul Sartori in supporting end of life patients with advanced dementia. This fits very well with our aims of supporting projects dedicated to addressing the needs of older people with advanced dementia (and their carers) in domestic, community and formal care settings,” said Ruth Tarry, Chairman from the Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust.

This follows on from support provided by NFU Mutual’s Agency Giving Fund and the Hywel Dda University Health Board, where both trials proved invaluable for local families. Although Dementia was not recognised until recently as something you can die of. According to the Office for National Statistics, Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was recorded as one of the leading causes of death in Wales in April 2023. The Paul Sartori Hospice at Home Clinical Staff Team are aware of the difference supporting those living with Dementia and the impact on families and will work with the Admiral and Marie Curie Dementia Nurses to enhance the support locally.

The Paul Sartori Team play an important part in supporting end of life patients and their families, which also enhances the provision of other local services. With the team’s flexible and rapid approach, they support the patient’s wish to be cared for in their own home. They offer a patient-centred approach to care – assessing patients, referring to other internal services, work closely with other healthcare providers and are available as advisors. They provide a wide range of other services, including home nursing care, 24-hour support, standby service, complementary therapy, bereavement and counselling support, physiotherapy, future care planning and training. These services enable people in the later stages of any life limiting illness to be cared for and to die at home with dignity, independence, pain free and surrounded by those they hold most dear if that is their wish. Further information on the charity and its services can be obtained by visiting their website www.paulsartori.org, or by phoning 01437 763223.

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Fishguard RNLI volunteers on exercise tasked to real casualty

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A VOLUNTEER crew out on training exercise were diverted to a real casualty within minutes of launching.

Three volunteer crew members from Fishguard RNLI had just launched the charity’s D class inshore lifeboat Edward Arthur Richardson for a planned routine training exercise, and were attempting to notify HM Coastguard of their intentions when they were tasked to a genuine shout.

The request was to attend to a 5m rigid inflatable boat (RIB) with 2 persons onboard which was located approximately 1.5 miles east of Pen Anglas and had lost all means of propulsion.

With rain moving into the area the two casualties onboard were also open to the elements. On rounding Pen Anglas the casualty vessel was spotted in the distance and the lifeboat made best speed into the conditions.

Once on scene an assessment was carried out and due to the worsening weather conditions and with the boat at risk of drifting towards cliffs due to having no means of propulsion, it was determined the safest course of action would be to establish an astern tow and return the casualty vessel to the nearest safe harbour at Goodwick.

Following a slow tow at 3-4 knots the casualty was brought inside the breakwater at Goodwick where a lifeboat crew member was transferred across to assist in taking the vessel from an astern tow to an alongside tow, giving the volunteer helm more control to bring the casualty vessel alongside the slip at Goodwick.

Once alongside the slip the casualty vessel was made fast and casualties transferred safely ashore to recover their vessel. The lifeboat then returned to station where it was washed down, refuelled and made ready again for service.

Fishguard RNLI volunteer inshore lifeboat Helm, Ian Davies, said: ‘We had launched to carry out routine training for crew working towards their upcoming assessments, this included setting up and establishing astern and alongside tows when we were called upon to assist the casualty, as a result we ended up putting that training into practice to safely return the casualty vessel to shore.

‘The owner did the correct thing and contacted the Coastguard using their radio on channel 16 to report their situation. We would like to remind any water users to ensure they always carry a means of calling for help, most commonly a personal VHF radio or mobile phone kept in a waterproof pouch and should be within reach at all times.’

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