Countess of Wessex works with Childline volunteers

The Countess of Wessex has worked a shift with Childline as she carried out her first official royal event since the lockdown began.

Sophie helped volunteer counsellors with answering messages from vulnerable young people via Childline’s personal inbox, which invites children to get in touch online.

Her support came after she had taken part in special volunteer counsellor training to equip her with the skills needed.

Sophie visited the London headquarters of the helpline run by the NSPCC on Wednesday to thank staff and volunteers for their dedication during the coronavrius pandemic.

Sophie joined a counselling shift at Childline to see first-hand the lifeline the service offers to vulnerable children (Casey Gutteridge/NSPCC/PA)

She also joined the end of shift debrief session where the counselling team talked about the types of issues they discussed with the children.

In March, staff and volunteers from the helpline were recognised as critical workers, and the service had to adapt to make sure it could continue to be there for children.

Alex Gray, service manager for the Childline’s London base, said: “We were delighted to be joined by the Countess of Wessex for a shift at our Childline base today.

“I am very proud of how quickly our Childline service has adapted, continuing to provide a vital lifeline to young people during this crisis.

The countess underwent specialist training to work at Childline (Casey Gutteridge/NSPCC/PA)

“It was an honour to be able to share this with the countess and to see her supporting vulnerable young people who are reaching out to us at this difficult time.”

The countess is the royal patron of the NSPCC, which campaigns and works in child protection.

Since the start of January, Childline has delivered 6,938 counselling sessions to children and young people who have got in touch about coronavirus.

The NSPCC launched its Still Here for Children appeal earlier this year in response to Covid-19, to raise much-needed funds to support its services like Childline – and donations are still needed.

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