The future of ChildLine has been secured after it agreed a takeover by the children’s charity the NSPCC.
The move comes after months of uncertainty about whether ChildLine’s helpline would be able to continue after it faced problems raising enough funds.
ChildLine has helped almost two million children since it was started by Esther Rantzen in 1986, but has never been able to meet the demand for its services.
The NSPCC hopes to develop ChildLine’s services. Sir Christopher Kelly, NSPCC chairperson, said: “We are joining together now in the best interests of children. There is now an enormous opportunity to develop a more extensive service to help even more children. The two organisations are a natural fit.”
The NSPCC expects to start running the helpline early next year, although the ChildLine name and the freephone number will remain unchanged.
Rantzen called the move “wonderful news for children”.
“The NSPCC is a remarkable charity and we see ourselves as natural partners. When this move goes ahead ChildLine will continue to provide exactly the same service. When children call 0800 1111, they will speak to a ChildLine counsellor who will give them comfort and support, just as they have for nearly 20 years,” she added.
The NSPCC’s free 24-hour child protection line will continue as before.
Both charities will now enbark on a consultation period to discuss the details of the takeover.