March 23rd marks the start of ‘Blue Week’, which sees the local community pulling together for an impressive week of fundraising.

“The last year has certainly been one of our busiest,” admits chairperson Annie Green.

“Childline received 800 calls and messages, marking more than a twofold increase in the number of contacts.

“Based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, we aim to protect children from all forms of violence and exploitation. We believe that everyone has a responsibility to care for and protect children and, as an organisation, we listen to children, we respect their views and we encourage them to fulfil their potential.”

Blue Week, beginning 23rd March is Childline’s annual awareness raising event, when staff and volunteers will be visiting schools and local businesses in order to raise awareness about all they do, and all Childline has achieved. This busy week of fundraising and presentations culminates in the Blue Week black tie dinner at the Rock Hotel on Friday 27th March.

What has been happening recently?

A WhatsApp service was launched, making Childline’s services available to young people who can get in contact by sending a WhatsApp to 58008288.

A new Chief Executive Officer (a long-held ambition) was appointed – Caroline Carter Olivero, newly married and recently returned to her home in Gibraltar. Caroline has a wealth of experience in the charity sector both here in Gibraltar and in the UK.

Childline is currently running a Positive Parenting course and a Helpline Volunteer Listeners course; each of these courses require the facilitators to undertake particularly specialised training.

The Childline Outreach Programme ran a Year 3 workshop to encourage children to express their feelings appropriately. Childline’s outreach activities have taken them into all the Upper Primary Schools, Loreto Convent, Hebrew Primary and to Youth Clubs including the Gibraltar Youth Service and Ministry of Defence Youth Clubs.

The Childline team were delighted to enter this year’s Three Kings Cavalcade. “This was made possible for us by MH Bland, who have kindly dedicated a bus showing our Childline logo and number 8008. This kind of generous gesture is invaluable, and helps us tremendously in raising awareness. Our volunteers, many of whom were accompanied by their children, and staff members from MH Bland turned out in force all dressed in blue. The responses received from everyone as we made our way along the cavalcade route was so overwhelming; lots of high fives and touching comments of encouragement.”

Childline continues to provide their Appropriate Adult service, which provides support to juveniles who have been arrested and detained by the RGP. Childline Gibraltar are members of NAN (The national Association of Appropriate adult network). This service is provided by our volunteers on a 24-hr 365 days of the year basis, and requires specialist training which is provided by NAN.

In what has been their busiest year to date, dedicated staff and volunteers continue to strive to make sure that the services provided by Childline will always be available to the children and young people of Gibraltar.

It is fortunate that Gibraltar is such a generous and altruistic society.