Online Editions

4th Aug, 2021

Celebrities urge the UK to play in support of the NSPCC's Childhood Day

DAME Esther Rantzen, founder of the NSPCC run service Childline, TV presenting duo Ant and Dec and TV presenter Emma Willis are calling on the UK to play today in support of the NSPCC’s Childhood Day.

Thousands of children and adults have already signed up to play and raise money for the leading children’s charity, with communities from all corners of the UK and Channel Islands organising play themed events.

There is no end to the number of ways people are getting behind the day in the Midlands -from a ‘six towns’ walk across Stoke-on-Trent, to a Croquet day in Colston Bassett in Nottinghamshire.

The NSPCC thinks we could all do with a bit more play and is calling on families, friends and work colleagues to celebrate childhood and give children their moment to really be kids after a difficult year.

To mark their support as Childhood Day champions, Ant and Dec are releasing a video which sees them playing some fun and simple games to show just how easy it is to get playing this Childhood Day.

The challenges children have faced such as school closures, cancelled exams and being separated from family and friends have had a devastating impact on the mental health and wellbeing of many young people, with Childline delivering over 73,000 counselling sessions about this issue.

The NSPCC has also found the pandemic has increased the risk of abuse and neglect. The Childline service reported an 18 per cent increase in counselling sessions about emotional abuse, when compared to the year before.

Following a recent online YouGov poll of 174 Midlands parents with children aged three to twelve, the NSPCC found that nearly three quarters (72%) think play has helped their child’s mental health and wellbeing since the start of the pandemic. Around half think it’s helped to reduce stress (48%) and prevent loneliness (53%) and 61% said its helped to support learning outside of school.

As we move out of the pandemic, it is vital we remain here for children and that they get the help and support they need to have a better and brighter future.

Those taking part in Childhood Day will not only get the chance to have fun with their loved ones, they’ll also be playing their part in helping to keep children safe by raising vital funds for the NSPCC.

Ant said: “It’s such an honour to be supporting the NSPCC’s Childhood Day today.

“There are so many benefits to play and sadly it is something that’s been really restricted over the last year with many children not being able to play with their friends like they normally would.”

Dec said: “As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, we want all children to have a bright future ahead of them.

“That’s why we’re getting involved in Childhood Day today so we can play our part for children. Check out our video and get playing!”

Emma Willis said: “I absolutely love that the NSPCC’s Childhood Day is encouraging everyone to play today. As a family we have really missed not being able to come together with friends and family in the same way. Today is a great opportunity to have lots of fun and play, whilst raising vital funds for such a fantastic and important charity.”

The online YouGov poll of 174 parents with children aged three to twelve in the Midlands also found that over three quarters of parents (82%) think spending time with grandparents and the wider family will be important for their child’s wellbeing this summer.

Dame Esther Rantzen, founder and president of Childline, said: “The impact of the past year on children cannot be underestimated.

“The challenges that they’ve faced have turned their lives upside down and many have really struggled to cope. Throughout all of this, Childline has remained a vital listening ear and our counsellors are amazed each day by the resilience that children and young people demonstrate.

“After all the disruption and uncertainty, I think it is fantastic that the NSPCC are marking the importance of play through Childhood Day, whilst fundraising for their vital work.

“As a grandparent myself, I have really struggled with not being able to see and spend time with my grandchildren. The moments when we can be together and play feel even more precious now.

“So, if you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to visit the NSPCC website and get involved in Childhood day today.”

The NSPCC’s Childhood Day, which was previously piloted in specific areas, launched this year with a refreshed look and feel and a renewed ambition to celebrate childhood by getting the nation playing after a really challenging year. Over the past few months the charity has been encouraging people to sign up, download a fundraising pack and organise a play event to fundraise for the NSPCC.

There’s still time to get involved and sign up to host a play event this weekend. Visit to download your free fundraising pack with lots of play ideas.

You can also support Childhood Day and help protect children by making a donation through the NSPCC website –

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