THANKS to the help of Clydebank band Wet Wet Wet, Childline has now carried out more than 750,000 sessions since it opened its Scottish base in 1990.

Royalties from the band’s first number one hit “With a Little Help from Our Friends” provided the funding to open the charity’s Glasgow home.

Counsellors who deal with contacts from children from all over the UK have handled 15 per cent of all counselling sessions held by the NSPCC-run service in the last 30 years.

Margaret Anne McKay, Childline senior supervisor, is Glasgow’s longest serving counsellor, having started as a volunteer, aged 22, when the base was set up.

She said there has been many changes since then, with one of the most significant being a shift from all counselling sessions happening over the phone to 70 per cent taking place online.

Margaret said: “The type of things that young people talk to us about has also shifted over time, with different social pressures.

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“I think social media has made a huge difference, in terms of what they are exposed to, but there is also a very positive side to it, because it gives them better access to seeking help.

“Over the past 10 years, there seems to be a much greater emphasis on mental health, as well as suicidal thoughts and self-harm. Before that, bullying featured more as a main concern to call about.

“It is not an easy job. It can sometimes be stressful, and you have to make decisions affecting the lives of vulnerable children and young people. But I love it because you can see the difference you are making.”

During 2019/20, counsellors in Glasgow handled 27,449 contacts. The main concern was mental and emotional health, with more than a third (34 per cent) of the contacts being about this issue.

Esther Rantzen, who founded Childline in 1986, said: “The Glasgow base was set up very soon after Childline was launched, thanks to the generosity of Wet Wet Wet who donated the royalties from their first huge number one hit - which became an anthem for so many abused children.

“Much has changed over the last 30 years, but Childline’s heart has never changed, we still believe passionately that children have the right to be safe, that they must have a lifeline so that they can ask for help, and that Childline is that lifeline.”