We can save ChildLine base

1st July 2011 at 01:00

As a resident of Edinburgh and long-standing volunteer counsellor with ChildLine, I write to protest at the proposed closure of ChildLine's Edinburgh base by the NSPCC.

Since 2003, the Scottish Government has invested more than pound;2 million in ChildLine in this country. During the period 2006-08, a significant sum was given to establish an Edinburgh base which opened less than three years ago, in September 2008.

The NSPCC, based in London, claims it wants to improve services and cost effectiveness, but the closure of the centre in Edinburgh would result in the loss of nearly 100 trained, skilled and diverse volunteers, who donate more than 16,000 hours of telephone and online counselling each year. Each of these volunteers has cost pound;1,600 to train.

The NSPCC's proposals are utterly misguided. To eliminate overnight in our capital city a major centre of excellence for the support of children, and one that has tapped into the rich pool of volunteers available in the region, is totally irresponsible.

There needs to be a speedy and transparent review of alternative options.

This closure would represent an appalling waste of the talent and expertise that has been built up, to a large extent with Scottish funding, over the past three years. It would be a waste of significant investment by the Scottish Government, a waste of the money donated by the community, and a waste of volunteers' time and commitment.

The Prime Minister talks about a "big society" and the need for people to volunteer. The ChildLine base in Edinburgh is a living example of a "big society" - and yet, at a time when there are increasing numbers of vulnerable children, it faces closure.

Roger Davidson, Save ChildLine Edinburgh Action Group, Liberton Drive, Edinburgh.

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