Children’s charity NSPCC is to take over ChildLine, it was announced today.
ChildLine’s free helpline is set to become part of the NSPCC early in 2006.
ChildLine originally approached the NSPCC about a merger. ChildLine says it could have continued alone but cuts would have been needed
to put the organisation on a “more stable financial footing”.
Joining the NSPCC means ChildLine can “protect and develop a service that has proved to be crucial to the welfare of children in the UK,” said a ChildLIne spokesperson.
NSPCC has an annual income of £112 million compared to ChildLine’s £14.6 million. While NSPCC has 2,075 staff, ChildLine has just 281.
ChildLine was founded by Esther Rantzen in 1986. It has never been able to meet the enormous demand for help from children. Becoming part of the NSPCC means ChildLine will be able to answer more calls, say both charities.
The ChildLine name and phone number, 0800 1111, will remain.
NSPCC also has a separate helpline for anyone with concerns about the welfare of a child and this will continue.
“The NSPCC and ChildLine share the same vision for children and young people – we have always enjoyed a close working relationship. We are joining together now in the best interests of children,” said NSPCC chair Sir Christopher Kelly.
“This is wonderful news for children. When this move goes ahead, ChildLine will continue to provide exactly the same service,” said ChildLine chair Esther Rantzen,
“Joining with the NSPCC will offer ChildLine greater financial security to answer many more calls from distressed children. And its counsellors will be able to refer many children on to the NSPCC’s other pioneering services,” she added.
Both charities now enter into a period of consultation to confirm details.
ChildLine said redundancies at “director level” may be necessary.