#childsafety | Sevenoaks NSPCC CEO to conquer virtual mountains


InYourArea Community

By InYourArea Community


NSPCC Chief executive Officer Peter Wanless
Submitted by the NSPCC

Chief executive officers at the NSPCC and O2 will celebrate their organisations’ online safety partnership this week by climbing three mountains virtually.

On October 30, Peter Wanless will walk eight and a half miles uphill using a combination of his treadmill and hills in the North Kent Downs, including Brand’s Hatch near his home near Sevenoaks.

The NSPCC Chief executive will scale the equivalent of Ben Nevis from home and the surrounding area, while O2’s Mark Evans will take on the equivalent of Mount Snowdon and Scafell Pike the same day. Mark will be undertaking the challenge from a treadmill at O2’s Head Office in Slough.

Mark Evans will be taking part in his virtual Three Peaks climb at O2’s office in Slough

This fundraising initiative comes several years into a partnership that has provided families with the tools to keep children safe in their online worlds.

From the ground-breaking Net Aware, which is a guide for parents on the apps and games their children may use, to advice and tips on how to talk to a child about their online world, the partnership continues to blend tech know-how with unique expertise in child protection.

The climb comes at a time when the safety of young people online has never been more important. As the UK government progresses with an online harms bill, long called for by the NSPCC, the charity’s own research shows an 11 per cent increase in counselling sessions about online abuse at Childline from April 1 to 31 August 31.

Peter Wanless said: “This is a time when fundraising is particularly hard, and I am delighted to be able to show that events like the Three Peaks Challenge are still possible wherever you are in the country. O2 have been tremendous partners, sharing our vision for a better, safer online world for children and young people.”

This comes as safeguarding leads in schools are on alert for disclosures of online sexual abuse after a surge in reported incidents following the Covid-19 lockdown.

Children feeling lonely during the Covid-19 lockdown were at heightened risk of online grooming and sexual abuse.

The NSPCC helpline also saw a 60 per cent increase in contacts from people with concerns about children experiencing online sexual abuse, from an average of 117 per month before lockdown to an average of 187 per month since lockdown.

The charity warns that lonely children sought company and support online during lockdown, often from people they did not know. For many children, it was the first time they had ventured onto some of these online platforms.

Mark Evans, CEO at O2 said: “Since 2015 O2 have worked with the NSPCC to provide tech advice and resources to make the online world safer for children, including our leading campaign Net Aware, which helps parents and their kids to have regular conversations about staying safe online. I am humbled by the dedication of those raising awareness and funds for the NSPCC, and I hope our virtual mountain climbing goes a small way to supporting their vital work.”

To support Peter and Mark please visit their JustGiving page.


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