On April 24 the Mayor invited the Isle of Man’s NSPCC team - schools service manager Chris Dunn and volunteers Suzanne Howell and Shona Quayle - to the town hall to celebrate the charity's work teaching schoolchildren how to stay safe from abuse.
The team has visited all of the 32 primary schools on the island twice in the past four years, delivering the NSPCC’s Speak Out Stay Safe assemblies and workshops, teaching children about what abuse and neglect are, and who they can turn to for help if it is happening to them.
Her Worship said: ‘Keeping our children safe and ensuring their precious childhood years are untarnished by abuse or neglect is fundamental to every caring society.
‘Regrettably, child abuse can often go undetected and unreported, but thanks to the NSPCC and its Speak Out Stay Safe programme, children are learning how to protect themselves, knowing whom they can trust and are equipped with the confidence to speak out and seek help. I commend the Isle of Man’s NSPCC team for their work in safeguarding the Island’s next generation and ensuring every child receives the best possible life chances.’
Chris Dunn said: 'It’s great that our work in the Isle of Man is being recognised and celebrated. We’re really grateful that the Mayor has shown such an interest in the charity’s schools service.
'The Speak Out Stay Safe assemblies and workshops we deliver are invaluable in letting children know they have the right to be safe. The charity’s aim is to reach every school with this service – something we have achieved twice in the last four years on the Isle of Man.'
'But without the support of our volunteers, our programme simply couldn’t exist. We are always looking for committed volunteers to join our small team here.
'It’s a great way to meet new people and learn a new skill, while giving something back. The NSPCC trains and supports its volunteers so they feel confident in their role.'
NSPCC volunteer Suzanne Howell helped set up the Speak Out Stay Safe programme on the Isle of Man. She moved to the island in 2012 from Bradford where she had also volunteered for the charity’s schools service.
The former head teacher said: 'In my job I attended a lot of child protection meetings. I experienced, first hand, children suffering in silence and know the impact it has on their lives. Children cannot concentrate on learning if they have worries going around and round in their heads.
'When Esther Rantzen set up Childline more than 30 years ago I made up wallet cards for the children to put in their pockets and said to them: "If ever you feel unsafe or worried about anything and need to talk to a trusted adult then you can phone this number and there’s someone who will listen to you."
'When I gave up teaching I wanted to give something back and give children a lifeline. In these workshops we are empowering children – letting them know they have the right to be safe, speak out and be heard and that there’s always someone to turn to. The children are very receptive to it and actually take it very seriously.'
Volunteers are asked to give approximately a few hours of their time, twice a month during term time. Anyone who would like more information on how to volunteer for the NSPCC Schools Service should visit this link.