Child protection charity NSPCC is launching a Christmas campaign to safeguard youngsters across the region with the support of city businesses.
The charity is planning a Festival of Trees and is rallying businesses to light up the mall of the ICC by sponsoring one of 19 giant Christmas trees.
The NSPCC, whose Birmingham operation is based in Hagley Road, Edgbaston, aims to raise £15,000 with the festive display, backed by the Birmingham Post, and will use the funds to support their ChildLine School Service, putting trained volunteers into every primary school in the West Midlands to help children recognise what abuse is help them to speak out about it.
Jenny Sedgwick, fundraising manager for Birmingham and the Black Country, said: “We’re so excited to launch the NSPCC Festival of Trees and with the generosity and support of the Birmingham business community, the Mall will be transformed into a festive winter wonderland this Christmas, to be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to all our sponsors to date for their commitment to supporting the NSPCC and to the ICC for giving us such a fantastic venue to host the trees.”
Throughout the month of December the ICC’s atrium will be lit up with seven six-foot trees and seven nine-foot trees, with a further five central 12-foot trees for the main sponsors, to be admired by a footfall of more than 200,000, including visitors to Symphony Hall and crowds passing between Centenary Square and Brindleyplace.
The trees will all be decorated on the same day with a 5pm switch-on on December 1.
Julie Hilton, schools manager for the ChildLine Schools Service in the West Midlands, said: “Many primary school children are suffering abuse and neglect, yet they can wait months, or even years, before getting any kind of help.
“These children are too frightened – too vulnerable – to seek help when the abuse takes place.
“If they can’t reach out to us, we have to reach out to them. That’s why we’ve developed the ChildLine Schools Service.
“The money raised from the Festival of Trees will help put trained ChildLine Schools Service volunteers into every primary school in Birmingham and across the West Midlands, to help local children understand what abuse is, give them the confidence to talk about it, help them recognise that abuse is wrong and that it is never their fault and show them who’s ready to listen.”
The project already has three main sponsors: The Birmingham Post and Mail, UK Mail and KTC Edibles. The NSPCC is now seeking 14 more businesses to support the cause.
Lisa Bellamy at UK Mail, the UK’s largest independent parcels, mail and logistic services company, said: “UK Mail is proud to support the NSPCC and the wonderful work they do in protecting children.
“We are particularly delighted to be involved in the Festival of Trees, as the project is sure to bring joy to many people in Birmingham at the same time as raising crucial funds for the ChildLine Schools Service.”
To find out more about supporting the NSPCC Festival of Trees by sponsoring a Christmas tree, bauble, or to support the NSPCC in another way, please contact Jenny Sedgwick on 07917 217 112 or email email@example.com