Manchester Legal Awards Charity Speech - ChildLine Schools Services

Manchester Legal Awards Charity Speech - ChildLine Schools Services

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David Gilroy and his pudding at the Manchester Legal Awards - March 2015I had the pleasure of attending the Manchester Legal Awards last night at The Midland Hotel.  It's the second time I've been and I have to say, it's a bit of a party.  The Manchester legal sector KNOWS how to enjoy itself.  Almost 600 people packed into the main ballroom at the hotel.  There was zero room for anyone else!  You can watch the highlights video at

It's always a rowdy affair, with the MC having to do a lot of shushing throughout the awards.  But, when Fran Eccles-Bech stood up towards the end of the evening to talk about the chosen charity, the whole room became completely silent.  I was so taken by it I even phoned Fran this morning to mention it to her.  She actually said that it was like that every year, however noisy the attendees were for the rest of the evening.

I was very happy to donate on the evening and to give away an orange dog as a raffle prize, although the lady who won it did not seem that happy about it :-(

When I spoke with Fran I also asked her to send me the full text of her speech regarding ChildLine Schools Service, the evening's chosen charity. Here it is.


Fran Eccles-Bech - ChildLine Schools Service Speech

Many primary school children are suffering abuse and neglect, yet they can wait months, or even years, before contacting ChildLine or getting any kind of help. These are the children that you see going to school in the morning, children who live on your street, children who are part of your community.

Children who suffer abuse often don't recognise what is happening to them as wrong. We need to help them understand and recognise what is and isn’t normal behaviour and offer help if they need it.

Those who do find the courage to speak out are often in their teens before they contact ChildLine. Yet they tell ChildLine about abuse that started years earlier. These children are too frightened – too vulnerable – to seek help when the abuse takes place. If they can’t reach out to us, we have to reach out to them.  We can do that through the ChildLine Schools Service – a pioneering new approach which aims to prevent abuse and help all children by giving them the confidence to say “Now I Know!”

Your support tonight will help the ChildLine Schools Service £1million fundraising Appeal in Greater Manchester, to recruit and train volunteers to talk to primary school children about different forms of abuse and ways to stay safe.

Your support tonight will help put trained ChildLine Schools Service volunteers into every single primary school across Greater Manchester.  Volunteers who will:

  • help local children understand what abuse is in all its forms
  • give them the confidence to talk about abuse
  • help them recognise that abuse is wrong and is never their fault
  • show them who’s ready to listen

Volunteers who will deliver difficult information in a way that’s tested, age-appropriate and sensitive to children of different abilities and levels of understanding.  Using assemblies and workshops, the Schools Service aims to ensure that children have an understanding of abuse in all its forms, including neglect and bullying, and how to protect themselves. It encourages children to recognise situations where they may need help and tells them ways of accessing help and support, including ChildLine and other trusted adults.
Imagine a generation of children who have the knowledge to prevent abuse - we believe it's possible. With your support, we can make it happen, one primary school at a time, reaching thousands of children across the region, helping them know where to turn for help when they need it.

Just  £12 will reach one child

£400 one classroom

£800 one local school

If everybody here tonight gave just £20, 15 schools and nearly 900 children could benefit from volunteers that you have funded.
Abuse robs children of their childhood. Without help, the scars of abuse can last a lifetime. And as devastating as it can be for the child, society pays a heavy price too.

Abuse changes childhood, but so can we

Child abuse is preventable - not inevitable. And it’s up to each of us to do everything possible to keep childhood safe from abuse, so children can grow up healthy and thrive. That’s why ChildLine are here and it drives them in what they do. So as long as there’s abuse – they will fight for every childhood.

I am sure that you would all agree that every childhood is worth fighting for and, with your help and support tonight, we can help ChildLine reach out to these frightened and vulnerable children.

Thank you.