ChildLine to close Swansea centre and open in Cardiff

ChildLine plans to close a call centre in Swansea in favour of a new base in Cardiff offering online counselling.

ChildLine, which is part of the NSPCC, provides a confidential telephone and online counselling service to children.

The charity said there was a growing demand for online inquiries alongside its telephone service.

The NSPCC also proposes closing the Edinburgh, Exeter and Leeds bases, with the Leeds office set to move to the NSPCC base in the city.

The NSPCC said it had reviewed how ChildLine operated across its 14 UK centres so "we can counsel more children in the ways they want".

The plans for Wales include closing the ChildLine call centre in Swansea and opening a new office in Cardiff for online counselling only.

There are also plans to increase the number of ChildLine volunteers in the remaining UK centres during the next five years.

The NSPCC said their roles would be expanded so by 2016 Childline would deliver "significantly more counselling hours in the most cost-effective way".

Head of ChildLine Sue Minto said: "We are finding that increasingly children and young people are turning to us online.

"The number of children who ring us remain steady and we receive something like just in excess of 100,000 calls every month from children, but our online demand is increasing month on month, and we really need to be able to respond to this.

"We don't have any intention of restricting the telephone usage, in fact we make sure in our promotion we're clear about the 0800 1111 number. A lot of children know that off by heart. We want them to know about the online service as well."

The NSPCC said it hoped its volunteers in Swansea would be able to travel to Cardiff, but it accepted that it might not be possible for everyone.

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