Ian is calling on the NSPCC to review their planned closure of the Childline office in Edinburgh, amid fears the move will let down the city’s most vulnerable children.
The Childline office in Edinburgh – which is staff by 14 members of staff and 10 volunteers – receive calls from thousands of youngsters every year.
But it is one of a number of Childline centres across the UK that has been earmarked for closure at the end of this month (July) by the NSPCC.
Reports suggest that following the closures Childline intends to offer a greater proportion of their services through the internet.
But with 35 per cent of homes across Scotland not having access to the internet, Ian fears many of the most vulnerable children will find themselves excluded from the services offered online.
And he is appealing to the NSPCC to reconsider their plans, ensuring their vital service remains accessible to all.
Ian said: “The Childline staff and volunteers in Edinburgh answer thousands of calls every year. Many of those calls are made by desperate youngsters who may have felt they had nowhere else to turn.
“If the Edinburgh office is allowed to close at the end of the month the talented pool of highly motivated staff and volunteers will be a serious blow to the voluntary sector.
“It has been reported that Childline intend to offer a greater proportion of their services through the internet. And I can understand how this may initially seem like a sensible approach to take.
“But, according to the latest statistics available, one in three homes in Scotland have no access to the internet. And that means many vulnerable children in our area will no longer have the same access to the vital services offered by Childline.
“I am concerned that the changes to the Childline service in Edinburgh are being rushed through too quickly. And I believe there needs to be a thorough analysis to make sure that the service remains accessible to all children.”
Government data suggests 35 per cent of homes do not have access to the internet in Scotland.
Children living in homes where income is low, where they are cared for by a single parent or where a member of the family has a long-term health problem or disability are among those homes that are less likely to have access to the internet.
Ian has already listed an Early Day Motion expressing his concern at the decision by the NSPCC to close the Edinburgh office.
And he has called on Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to meet with Childline staff and volunteers in Edinburgh to discuss whether the decision could be reversed.