As the country marks the one year anniversary of the first lockdown restrictions, Edmond Chan from Waltham Forest is continuing to put in shifts as team manager at Childline’s London base.

The whole team at Childline’s office in Shoreditch has faced some unprecedented challenges over the last year due to Covid-19.

It is one of 12 Childline bases, from which volunteer and staff counsellors answer contacts from children and young people across the UK – listening to them about any worries they may have.

Mr Chan said: "One of the biggest challenges this time last a was realising that a lot of our staff were going to have to shield. We knew we were going to have to reduce the service and that was pretty tough, knowing that we’d always been a 24 hour service and now we weren’t going to be able to cover the nights.

"We were asking for a lot more flexibility from staff. We’re not a 9-5 kind of team, we work evenings and weekends and there was a lot of camaraderie. That being said it has been tough for all of us, supervisors have had support just with coping with it.

"For me it was just doing whatever I needed to do. I found myself doing Covid-19 risk assessments every week and communicating the changes to the team, changing our environment, being on shift a lot more, covering gaps in the rota.

"We’re all really proud of what we’ve done because we have kept the service going. I think the London team in particular have done a fantastic job. Even in lockdown we were answering in excess of 500 contacts a day. That was down from 800 but London was shouldering the majority of the contacts. We’ve been taking on about 25% of online chats for the service nationally."

Edmund Chan, team manager at Childline

Edmund Chan, team manager at Childline

The NSPCC-run service has counselled more than 60,000 children and young people UK-wide around mental health related concerns alone since the first national lockdown, as well as more than 20,000 sessions about suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Describing the types of anxieties children are now facing, Mr Chan said: "Initially there were a lot of contacts about concerns on the virus itself, mirroring adults. I know at home I was talking to my family about the virus and keeping safe. A lot of children were worried about parents and grandparents getting sick. Some of them were worried about not being able to see people.

"As the year has gone on the main thing we have seen is that children have not been able to access the normal amount of support from mental health teams and their GP, as well as their friends. For those who have had issues with family - because sometimes family are not necessarily providing the best environment for a lot of children unfortunately - those issues have been amplified by being stuck at home."

Children can contact Childline every day of the week on 0800 1111 or via

Anyone with any concerns about the welfare of a child can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or visit for advice.