South Wales student set to shave off cherished dreadlocks in charity fundraiser for NSPCC Cymru
It’s great to hear about a student from South Wales who is bravely preparing to have her dreadlocks – which she has been growing since the age of 13 – shaved off to raise vital funds for one of our partner charities, NSPCC Cymru.
Emma Robinson from Barry has made the decision to part with her locks after recognising the impact the pandemic is having on the mental health of children and young people, and those who live in abusive homes.
“I want to raise as much money for the NSPCC as possible because the pandemic has been tough for everyone – even those among us that have a safe and comfortable home,” says Emma.
“I can’t imagine being a child living in an abusive household; feeling trapped not only by lockdown restrictions but by the family that should be supporting you through it.”
The shockwaves of the coronavirus pandemic are being felt in every community across Wales, but many children have been the hidden victims, suffering abuse and neglect at home, increased risk online, or further pressures on their mental health.
The 20-year-old university student says: “With suicide rates in young people rapidly rising, it is essential we help out these children in any way we can and sometimes a call to a helpline such as Childline can be all it takes to save a young life.
“After months of deliberating and annoying those close to me with my indecisiveness, I have finally decided to shave off my dreadlocks which I have had since I was 13.
“It’s hard to remember a life without them now, so it’s going to be an emotional day. It’s been a very big decision for me to make, but I’m doing it knowing that every pound raised could help save a child from an abusive household and set them up for a fulfilled future.”
The NSPCC is continuing to adapt the way it works in Wales so that it can support children at a time when children and young people are spending more time away from friends and relatives, and vulnerable children are at risk.
Children and young people have told Childline about new feelings of anxiety and depression, while others have shared how the pandemic is intensifying issues they were already having at home. The emotional burden spending more time inside is having on children and young people is very real and for those who live in households that are not safe, it’s a particularly stressful and uneasy time.
Childline has 12 bases across the UK, including in Cardiff and Prestatyn, where specially trained volunteer counsellors answer contacts from worried children across the UK and Channel Islands.
Between April and September, there were 3,665 contacts made to Childline from children and young people in Wales. Almost half of these contacts were about mental or emotional wellbeing, and nearly 500 were about suicidal thoughts and feelings.
NSPCC Cymru’s Supporter Fundraising Manager, Emma Brennan says: “We rely on public support for 90% of our income to help us fund services like Childline and we simply wouldn’t be able to support the children we do without supporters like Emma.
“The money raised for our charity helps fund NSPCC helplines and frontline services, which we are continuing to adapt to support children and their families in Wales through our direct services and free Speak Out. Stay Safe assemblies.”
The charity’s Schools Service has adapted its safeguarding assemblies to a virtual offer for now, which all primary schools across Wales can sign up to for free.
In an accessible and age-appropriate way, the assembly teaches children about Childline and helps them understand how to recognise different forms of abuse and how to speak out if they need to. As well as this, it also focuses on some of the additional worries that children are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emma, who is a third-year student studying philosophy at the University of Glasgow, will be having her locks shaved on Tuesday 1 December. To find out more about the fundraiser visit Emma’s JustGiving page and to find out how you can help fundraise for the NSPCC visit the charity’s website.
Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC helpline for free and confidential advice on 0808 800 5000 or visit nspcc.org.uk
Children can call Childline on 0800 11 11 from 7.30am to midnight from Monday to Friday or 9am to midnight on weekends. Or they can get in touch via 1-2-1 chat on www.childline.org.uk. Childline also has a huge online community where children can get support from their peers on message-boards and use expert resources to help them through any issue they are concerned about.