A FATHER and son have teamed up at the NSPCC’s Childline service to help keep children safe from abuse and neglect.
Daniel Doherty, 27, has been working as a volunteer supervisor at Childline’s Glasgow base since January last year, joining his dad Andy, who works as a senior supervisor.
Andy joined Childline in 2010 because he wanted to help young people and, inspired by his father’s example, Daniel now also helps young people with problems including bullying, family issues, self-harm and abuse.
Ahead of Father’s Day on Sunday, Daniel, from Johnstone, who works full-time as an administrative officer for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS), said: “I started volunteering for Childline while I was still at university studying philosophy.
“I already knew about the great work being done by Childline from my dad so in a way I was inspired to follow him into Childline.
“I like being a volunteer as you help young people and leave at the end of a shift feeling good about yourself as you feel as if you are making a difference to a young person’s life.”
Andy Doherty said: “I feel really proud of Daniel that he is giving up his free time to help and support children.
“He was inspired to volunteer at Childline because of the work I do. I started volunteering at Childline when Daniel was in his late teens.
“He has always known that I have really enjoyed it here and found it a special place to be.
“I have a very warm approach to all the volunteers because I understand from my own experience the commitment involved.
“But with Daniel there is obviously the personal connection because it’s someone I have been involved in their upbringing and helped to inspire him, not just in terms of Childline but in his life in general.
“The fact he sees the value in this is certainly something that makes me proud.”
Daniel and Andy have appealed for more people to come forward and volunteer for Childline.
Glasgow is one of 12 Childline bases across the UK which last year (2017-18) carried out a total of 278,440 counselling sessions over the phone and online with children in need of help. During this period, 13,198 of these counselling sessions were with children from Scotland where the most frequent concern was mental and emotional health.
At the moment, Childline can only respond to three out of four contacts from children and young people.
The Glasgow base currently has just over 190 volunteers but needs 250 to reach out to even more young people.
Daniel said: “When I speak to people about what I do at Childline they usually have the same concerns that I had before I started, such as I didn’t think I would have all the answers to help a young person.
“I now realise having all the answers is not that important, it’s about exploring issues with a young person and getting them to have conversations.
“It’s nice to be able to have an influence and help young people make decisions.”
And ahead of Father’s Day Andy added that he was keen to see more men volunteer for Childline.
He said: “Men have as much to give to an organisation like this as anyone else. There are lots of young men who use the service and there are lots of young men we should target to use the service more.
“It’s absolutely vital that we continue trying to get a cross section of society to help us connect with young people.”
To find out more on volunteering go to https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/volunteering-nspcc-childline/volunteer-childline-helpline/