A mum-of-two with time on her hands has decided to spend it bringing Childline’s message of support to schoolchildren, and teaching them how to recognise abuse and neglect.
Nicola Rarity, 48, signed up to be a volunteer for the organisation’s team visiting Surrey schools last September.
She said: “Now that my kids are on the verge of flying the nest and I have time, I’ve been looking at various ways to fill that time.
“Any parent who has brought a child up has experienced, either first-hand or through your children’s friends or your friends’ kids, the problems that they face these days.
“Bullying is rife and there are so many pressures on those kids.
“They can see that we’re nice folk, we’re happy, smiling, and hopefully they are reassured that there’s nothing to be frightened of in picking up the phone.
“I think the real heroes are the people I see as being on the front line and that’s the people who are manning the calls. We’ve got the nice bit.”
The idea of visiting primary school children – aged nine to 11 – is to make sure they understand at a young age that they can stand up for their rights.
Mrs Rarity, from Surbiton, added: “Hopefully they will carry that through their teenage years. It will stick that they shouldn’t be suffering without speaking up.
“It’s just getting them to think about how they feel. Once you just place a few catchwords in to get them thinking they’re very good at it.”
Area co-ordinator Anne-Marie Dougherty, who manages the team of 23 volunteers, said: “Nicola’s just absolutely fantastic. Kids love her.
“She just has this calm, controlled manner about her. It’s her dedication and commitment to the service and safeguarding children.
“She has got to a very high standard where she can be in charge of leading those assemblies and workshops. She is an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Mrs Rarity added: “Anne-Marie has such a massive workload – she works all the hours God sends, bless her, and always with a smile.
“It’s such a team effort. Every single one on my team does a brilliant job – they’re all fantastic people.”
If you are interested in volunteering with Childline, email anne-marie.dougherty @nspcc.org.uk.
Do you know an unsung hero? Call the newsdesk on 020 8722 6313 or email email@example.com.