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Golden Gate Bridge to Boston fundraiser in response to child-related calls

August 12 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, teams in the 111 services in Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire noticed an increase in the number of calls relating to children.

When they discovered that their experience reflected statistics from the NSPCC (which showed that in April, May and June there were more than 22,000 contacts to the NSPCC helpline from adults with concerns for the wellbeing of a child, an increase of 32% on the monthly average for the three months prior to lockdown), they decided that they would raise money for the charity.

During the month of August Team Southwest 111 will walk or run the equivalent trans-America distance between the Golden Gate Bridge and Boston, some 4,000 miles. Along the way there will be ‘virtual stop-offs’ at well-known landmarks such as Lake Tahoe, Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park.

It is thought that 30 to 50 members of the 111 service will take part although it is open to everyone – more than 200 in total.

Team Southwest 111 have set themselves a target of £2,000 but are confident that they can beat that. Donations can be made via the fundraising page on Just Giving.

The fundraising activity is being organised by Kate Mathieson and Mike Howells from NHS 111 in the region. Mike, who is the Safeguarding Lead for Southwest 111, commented: “During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic we noticed an upturn in calls relating to children, and when we saw the statistics from the NSPCC we noticed that our experience mirrored theirs. The main concerns raised to the NSPCC helpline during this period were parental behaviour, physical and emotional abuse and neglect: and around 40% of the contacts received were referred on to local authorities or the police for further action.”

He added: “We are delighted to take up this challenge on behalf of the NSPCC, which along with other charities has found fundraising to be a struggle over the past months. Every one of us matters, and together we will make things better.”

NSPCC Supporter Fundraising Manager, Caroline Morgan said: “We are very grateful that the NHS 111 South West team have decided to fundraise for the NSPCC.

“Fundraisers like Mike and the team are crucial to the work the NSPCC does as 90% of our funding comes from donations.

“Their support will help us to ensure we are still here for children when they need us most, and I wish them the best of luck in their challenge.”

Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC helpline for free and confidential advice on 0808 800 5000 or visit nspcc.org.uk

Children can contact Childline for free on 0800 1111 or childline.org.uk 365 days a year, and speak to a counsellor about a worry or concern they may have.