Keeping safe online: Volunteer Centre and NSPCC partnership

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NSPCC Northern Ireland has launched a joint campaign with the Causeway Volunteer Centre promoting online safety for volunteer-involving organisations.

The event, held in the Causeway Rural and Urban Network building, highlighted the key role that volunteer-involving organisations have in promoting online safety use for children and young people and is the first in a number of sites across Northern Ireland to host the online safety campaign.

NSPCC campaigns manager, Margaret Gallagher, said: “We know that in Northern Ireland we have a strong and vibrant network of volunteer-involving organisations that reach into local communities, groups and local families.

“They are well placed to help promote knowledge and information on how best to manage the challenges that the internet and the digital age can bring for children and young people and for adults that support and care for them.

“At NSPCC Northern Ireland we have partnered with five independent volunteer centres to develop a series of activities to promote this knowledge on online safety. The launch event today kick-starts the campaign, which will be followed up with presentations on online safety delivered to local communities via the voluntary sector network.

“We are also promoting a range of publicity and information material for anyone who wishes to enhance their knowledge of online safety and where to get information and support.”

Welcoming the partnership and speaking on behalf of Causeway Volunteer Centre, Manager, Mary McNickle, said: “The Causeway Volunteer Centre is delighted to have formed this partnership with NSPCC along with a number of our sister organisations across Northern Ireland. “As a support organisation for a wide variety of volunteer-involving organisations that rely on using online media and networks, we know how critical it is that we all increase our awareness on this issue.

“Our members interface with thousands of children, young people and adults in our communities. Taking part in this campaign and providing information and support on the issue of online safety will contribute to increasing the knowledge of the voluntary sector. We have sourced training for our own staff and will be offering support to our members to enable them to respond to challenges, signposting to those best placed to respond as well as promoting online safety policies and best practice.”

Those attending the launch event included Sergeant Siobhan Ennis PSNI, Public Protection Unit whose role includes promoting online safety in the community, commenting at the event she said: “As part of a PSNI team that addresses online safety in the Causeway area, I am delighted to support this initiative.

“We need everyone, young people and adults alike, to take stock of how they behave online and offline.

Margaret Gallagher continued: “Causeway Volunteer Centre is one of a number of independent volunteer centres that are taking this issue on and leading with best practice and information for their member groups.

“We will be cascading the campaign across Northern Ireland.”