The Britain's Got Talent and I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! hosts have been long time supporters of the NSPCC.
New figures published by the charity today show that in the West Midlands region more than 90,000 children were helped by the charity's school service. Now the fresh Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly is being launched to encourage children to share their worries with a trusted adult.
In Staffordshire 9,359 children were reached, in Wolverhampton 5,709; in Sandwell 5,486, Telford & Wrekin 5,335; in Shropshire 4,697; in Walsall 3,857; and Dudley 2,680. While in Birmingham 19,121 were reached.
Ant McPartlin said: “We’re thrilled to be involved with the online version of the NSPCC’s Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly and we’ve had great fun filming with Buddy, the NSPCC mascot.
“We know that the lockdown will have been a difficult time for some children and others may be struggling with being back at school.
Dec Donnelly added: “This is why the NSPCC’s Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly is so important as it reminds children that no matter what may be worrying them, there is always someone who can help.
“It is a real privilege to be supporting the NSPCC with this online assembly and we want all children to remember that difficult times never have to be dealt with alone.”
The virtual assembly is also being backed by the children's minister Vicky Ford who said: “Protecting children from harm has always been a priority for this Government which is why throughout the pandemic we asked schools, nurseries and colleges to remain open for those who are most vulnerable.
Signs of abuse
“The NSPCC’s Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly will encourage children to speak to a trusted adult about their worries and for many that is likely to be a teacher. That’s one of the reasons why getting children back into the classroom in September was so important and why we are placing social workers in some schools to help teachers spot and report the signs of abuse and neglect more quickly.
“We have contributed towards funding Childline so I’m pleased to support this extra resource for children to get help and advice.”
The assemblies help to reinforce key lessons about abuse and neglect that are compulsory for all primary schools.
The NSPCC's head of school service Karen Squillino said: “Children have been stuck indoors for many months and at the NSPCC we know for some children home isn’t always a safe place. Many during lockdown will have faced heightened risks.
"As the pandemic continues we all need to be there to support children, and by equipping them with the knowledge and understanding they need to speak out is one vital way we can help ensure their safety.
“I encourage all primary schools to sign up so that we can help as many children as possible to recognise and report any worries they have.”