The NSPCC has launched Childhood Day, which takes place in June and calls on people to celebrate childhood and support its work by organising a fundraising play event.
Since April last year, NSPCC has revealed that Childline has carried out 73,088 counselling sessions about mental or emotional health. 5,646 of these counselling sessions were with children aged 11 or under, an increase of nearly a third (29%) when compared to the year before.
The charity has also revealed that in 2020/21, the first full year of living under Coronavirus restrictions, it delivered 16,610 counselling sessions about abuse, with counselling sessions about emotional abuse increasing by 18% when compared to the year before.
Now, as lockdown continues to ease, the charity is encouraging people across the UK to get involved in Childhood Day, which takes place on 11 June. The event was previously piloted in specific areas, and has now launched with a refreshed look and feel.
The charity has also launched a film that encourages people to play their part for children by signing up, downloading a fundraising pack and organising a play event to fundraise for the NSPCC.
Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of Childline, said:
“Throughout this pandemic, children and young people have had to deal with so many difficult new challenges, many knowing that their families were struggling with health worries and financial issues, some locked down in unsafe homes, deprived of their schools which may have been their only refuge. Many have told Childline that they have struggled to cope and their mental health has suffered as a result.
“Childline’s counsellors have been tremendously impressed by the resilience of so many young people during the pandemic, supporting themselves and each other. Nevertheless, we are all only too aware that not only education has suffered, but so has the opportunity to play. My grandchildren have told me how much they have missed their friends during lockdown. Play is such an important part of childhood, building confidence and creating relationships. After the year we’ve had, I am really looking forward to joining my own family on Childhood Day. I do hope as many families as possible will be able to do the same, to enjoy each other’s company and have fun and play together.”
NSPCC supporter Dr Ranj Singh also commented, saying:
“Young people have experienced so many different challenges to their mental health this year. Lots will have played less because they’ve been stuck at home, but as restrictions ease and opportunities for play increase it’s important we recognise its benefits.
“Play can help children work through difficult emotions, encounter new experiences and build resilience, confidence and self-esteem. In light of this, I’m backing the NSPCC’s Childhood Day and encouraging families up and down the country to get playing on the 11 June.”