Christmas 'lonely' for some NI kids

Published Sunday, 22 December 2013
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A charity is warning that Christmas can be a difficult and lonely time for some young people in Northern Ireland.

The Childline charity told UTV that it expects to carry out nearly 2'000 counselling sessions for children and young people across the UK this month, including on Christmas Day.

Childline has centres in Derry and Belfast, with 200 volunteers answering calls every day over the festive period.

Geraldine Loughran, Childline supervisor, said that the volunteers receive a very wide range of calls.

"We'll get calls from children who are just feeling lonely and need someone to talk to. We get a huge number of calls around family relationships and problems around Christmas time, for example, when families can be put under particular stress.

"They'll be calling in about wanting to go into care, about worry that mum and dad is going to separate or different things like that."

Sarah Cassidy, also of Childline, told UTV that the festive period can be difficult because of the 'perfect Christmas' images of trees, decorations and presents which bombard the public.

"And it can be quite isolating for young people if they don't have that.

"So for me, knowing that I'm a trained counsellor, I can come here in the morning before I go off to my Christmas with my family.

Childline telephone: 0800 1111
"To know that someone's been here listening to children, it means a lot to me, it's very important to me."
© UTV News
Comments Comments
peter in belfast wrote (115 days ago):
I have worked all my life and I am now a 60 yo living alone on £71pw. I am desperate as I cannot make ends meet and I cannot imagine what families are going through in these hard times. I get less than 1/2 to live on than what I lost in tax each month and I am so bitter. our government couldn't care less about the poor, they are only interested in their own gain. there are thousands out there living below the poverty line and it will grow next year unless something drastic is done.
Legendderry in In Derry wrote (116 days ago):
so sad at this time of year for some familys hope every one has a wonderfull christmas
annienac in belfast wrote (116 days ago):
god bless them. we all get so wraped up in our own lives, we forget about children who dont have the same. theres plenty of ads about elderly, but, and i am guilty of this because its christmas u think all children have the same as are own. very very sad, its good to know that there are people there for them to talk to and the likes of st.vincent de paul and salvation army. this has put christmas into perspective for me and next year i doin my bit. im ill at the minute, but will give more thought and money, toys or whatever these kids and charities need.
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