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Ant and Dec return to host virtual child safety programme


By Alan Beresford

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TV stars Ant and Dec are set to front a child safety broadcast on Facebook.

Ant and Dec will be returning to host the second virtual 'Speak Out. Stay Safe'.
Ant and Dec will be returning to host the second virtual 'Speak Out. Stay Safe'.

Amid growing concerns about the impact of Covid-19 on children’s safety and mental health and wellbeing the NSPCC is holding a second virtual 'Speak Out. Stay Safe' assembly on the charity's Facebook page on this coming Tuesday at 10am.

The special broadcast suitable for children aged five and over aims to help them understand how to speak to a trusted adult if they feel anxious or worried, and it explains the support that Childline can offer.

It will also focus on some additional concerns that some children are experiencing due to the pandemic.

Joining hosts Ant and Dec will be comedian David Walliams, who is due to make a guest appearance.

The TV duo who have been long term supporters of the children’s charity hosted the first online assembly in June last year which received over 100,000 views on Facebook and YouTube.

A recording of Tuesday’s online assembly will also be available on the NSPCC’s website, Facebook and YouTube channel after the event for anyone who misses it.

One Facebook user who watched the first assembly said: "My boys loved it and following a family bereavement this gave them an opportunity to talk about their feelings. We took blank paper and marked it for every worry or fear we had and shared.”

With many vulnerable children still facing increased risks at home and with others struggling with their mental health due to the challenges posed by the pandemic, it’s vital that children know what to do and who to speak if something is worrying or upsetting them.

The coronavirus-related worries the assembly will cover include, children not being able to see their family and friends, changes in daily routines, experiencing new feelings and spending more time online.

Ant said: “After what has been an incredibly difficult start to the year for many young people, we feel privileged to once again be hosting the NSPCC’s virtual assembly for children and their families."

Dec added: “We hope we can remind children that they don’t have to just carry their worries with them – they can always speak to someone they trust if they’re feeling sad, overwhelmed, or unsafe.”

Service Head of School Service, Janet Hinton commented: “The lockdown has turned the lives of children upside down and many are struggling to cope with the challenges it has posed.

“Although our trained ‘Speak Out. Stay Safe’ staff can’t currently go into schools, it is essential that every child knows who they can turn to if they need help and support.

“After watching the assembly, parents and carers can continue this conversation with their children by visiting the NSPCC website where they can find additional activities.”

Prior to the pandemic, ‘Speak Out. Stay Safe’ had been delivered in 96 per cent of primary schools across Scotland with trained NSPCC volunteers and staff delivering the assembly and workshop with the help of ‘Speak Out. Stay Safe’ mascot, Buddy the speech bubble.

The importance of empowering children to understand that they have the right to speak out and stay safe has been highlighted in a recent court case which saw 63-year-old Sidney Sales from Luton jailed for three years after a girl spoke about the abuse she had suffered following seeing the NSPCC assembly at school.

Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, or email help@nspcc.org.uk

Children can call Childline on 0800 11 11 or visit www.childline.org.uk


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