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Strathclyde Sirens Netball Captain teams up with NSPCC Scotland to help keep children safe from abuse

14th March 2019

Strathclyde Sirens netball captain Claire Maxwell joined NSPCC Scotland to visit a Glasgow primary school with the charity’s unique Speak Out Stay Safe programme to help keep children safe from abuse.

With the assistance of Strathclyde Sirens star Claire, the service was delivered at St Philomena’s Primary School.

The leading children’s charity began delivering Speak Out Stay Safe assemblies in Scotland in 2012 and since then its staff and team of dedicated volunteers have spoken to tens of thousands of school children the length and breadth of the country.

The programme aims to help children, in an age-appropriate way, to understand abuse in all its forms and recognise the signs that it is happening, learn how to protect themselves from abuse and recognise how to get help – including from the NSPCC’s Childline service.

NSPCC research shows that on average at least two children in every primary school classroom will have suffered some form of abuse or neglect.

As well as specially-trained volunteers and staff, the charity’s mascot Buddy is also on hand during the assemblies to highlight to children the importance of speaking to a trusted adult or Childline about issues including abuse, neglect or bullying.

Interactive discussions and videos used during the assemblies gave the children help and tips on how to discuss and explore what constitutes harmful behaviour.

NSPCC Scotland has been working in partnership with the Strathclyde Sirens, the nation’s biggest semi-professional women’s sports team, since 2017 with the shared aim of promoting child safety and the Strathclyde Sirens’ players have joined the NSPCC on a number of school visits like today’s.

After the assembly, the pupils enjoyed a coaching session with Claire.

The Strathclyde Sirens star said: “In my role as the Strathclyde Sirens captain I endeavour to positively impact the lives of young children in Scotland.

“The NSPCC’s Speak Out Stay Safe campaign is a fantastic initiative and provides young children with integral advice and support in relation to recognising abuse.

“It was exciting to work with the children at St Philomena’s and inspire them to be courageous in every aspect of life.

“We are very proud of our partnership with NSPCC Scotland and aim to make a positive difference in young people’s lives.”

NSPCC Scotland Schools Area Co-ordinator Richard Caswell added: “The NSPCC’s Speak Out Stay Safe programme visits over 900 primary schools every year across Scotland, speaking with almost 150,000 children.

“We help young people develop an understanding of abuse in all its forms and of how to get help by empowering them to speak out.

“It was fantastic to work in partnership with St Philomena’s to deliver these vital messages to their pupils.

“It was great to have Claire Maxwell from the Strathclyde Sirens joining us today. The Strathclyde Sirens are wonderful ambassadors for empowerment and are committed to sharing the important messages of speaking out and staying safe in sport and in life.”

Linda Bertolacci, depute head teacher at St Philomena’s, said: “We work closely with many partner agencies to provide positive experiences and good role models for our children.

“We have worked with NSPCC Scotland over many years and were delighted to welcome them back today to work with in the school. Keeping children safe is our top priority and the responsibility of all.

“Having Claire Maxell from the Strathclyde Sirens was an honour and a privilege. Our children are especially motivated by successful sports men and women. Our school motto is, ‘From Little Things Come Great!’

Simple words of encouragement can be instrumental in changing the lives of children.”