A teenager who wants to volunteer as a Childline counsellor when she turns 16 has covered 870 miles in a four-month-long fundraising challenge for the NSPCC.
Liz Brennan from Nantgarw started her challenge to run, walk and cycle the equivalent length of the Wales coast path in September, with hopes of raising the £1,600 it costs to fund the training of a Childline counsellor.
The GCSE student has been a long-term supporter of the NSPCC and came up with a new way to fundraise for the charity after hearing its appeal for more Childline volunteers in Wales and considering the impact the pandemic was having on her peers.
Childline counsellors provide a safe space for children and young people to talk about anything that is happening to them from abuse and neglect, to anxiety, family relationships and bullying.
The Bishop of Llandaff School pupil averaged around eight miles each day between the start of September and Christmas Day.
“The challenge has been long and tough, but I have enjoyed it,” says Liz.
“I’ve been out in all weathers over the last four months to make sure I clocked enough miles and so it’s really helped having the support of my friends and family who volunteered to join me on walks and cycles.
“I am so grateful to everyone who has donated and sponsored me over the last few months as it helped get me out on those wintery days and we have managed to raise a fantastic amount. I’ve had some great support, including from my school that allowed me to raffle off a Sam Warburton signed British Lions jersey kindly donated by NSPCC volunteer Hywel Peterson.
“I encourage anyone who is thinking of taking on a challenge like this to do it. It is a brilliant opportunity to explore your area from home, improve your fitness and, after the year we have all faced, still be here for children.”
Liz has raised £2,400 for the charity, which relies on public donations for 90% of its income.
Julie Richards, Supporter Fundraising Manager for NSPCC Cymru/Wales, says: “This is a huge achievement and we are absolutely delighted for Liz who has dug deep to complete this exhausting challenge around her school studies. The money she has raised will help our charity continue to be here for children and young people.
“As a charity, we rely heavily on public donations and volunteers, and it’s thanks to fundraisers and supporters like Liz that we are able to answer so many contacts that come through to our Childline service.”
Liz added: “I hope I can continue to fundraise for the NSPCC in Wales in the future and I am looking forward to signing up to become a Childline counsellor when I turn 16, so that I can help the charity in its vital work to protect children and young people.”
The charity is appealing for English and Welsh speaking volunteers at its Childline bases in Cardiff and Prestatyn. Successful applicants are asked to give a minimum of 4.25 hours per week as a counsellor, and receive a comprehensive training package.
More information is available on the charity’s website. Anyone interested in finding out more about what the role entails and how to apply can contact the staff team on 01745 772 101 or via [email protected]. To find out more about how Liz completed her challenge, visit her JustGiving page. Anyone with any concerns about the welfare of a child can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or visit nspcc.org.uk for advice. Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or visit childline.org.uk for free 365 days a year.