A dedicated volunteer from Leigh has been named the NSPCC’s School’s Volunteer of the Year for the east – recognising her vital role in keeping children safe from abuse.

Vanessa Bradford, 54, volunteers with the NSPCC and delivers the charity’s free Speak Out Stay Safe service to schools in East London.

She was rewarded for helping the NSPCC’s School Service to deliver free safeguarding assemblies and workshops to children in primary schools across East London – a role she has held since March 2012.

She said: “I find my volunteering role extremely rewarding. Visiting schools and delivering the vital message to children about the importance of sharing their worries with adults they trust is such a valuable tool to teach them.

“I feel honoured to have been given this award, but there are so many volunteers within the NSPCC who do such amazing work.

“I would encourage anyone who has a couple of days free each month to get involved in the schools service and help the Speak out Stay Safe campaign.”

Vanessa was awarded School’s Volunteer of the Year for the London and South East area at a ceremony at Banking Hall, London, and received a certificate signed by HRH The Countess Of Wessex, the NSPCC’s patron.

The NSPCC school’s service makes children aware of all the different ways they could be abused and how they should trust their feelings if they think something is wrong and seek help either by speaking to a trusted adult or calling Childline.

Between September 2016 and July 2017, the service spoke to more than 42,100 primary school pupils and visited more than 100 schools in one part of London alone.

With the help of mascot Buddy, specially trained volunteers deliver child-friendly, age appropriate, interactive assemblies to children aged four to 11, plus a one hour classroom workshop for children in Years Five and Six.

By the end of the visit it is hoped the children will understand the different forms of abuse, know how to protect themselves and who they can turn to for help.

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