Inspiring women trailblazing for Childline

22.05.2019 18:16

Image (left to right): Kelly Holmes (double Olympic gold medallist), Ama Agbeze (England netball captain), and Lauren Steadman (committee member). Photography from CPG Photography

Trailblazers for Childline

In February this year, we at the NSPCC were delighted to deliver our inaugural Trailblazers event which celebrated female talent from the sporting, media and business worlds with a Q&A hosted by award-winning sports broadcaster Clare Balding.

Female Olympic medallists, sports personalities and business leaders attended the exclusive event which raised an incredible £27,000 for Childline.

On the panel sharing inspiring and insightful stories from their careers were:


  • Dame Katherine Grainger – Five-times Olympic medallist rower, and now Chair of UK Sport
  • Dame Kelly Holmes - Double Olympic gold medallist and previous BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner
  • Ama Agbeze - England Netball captain, the team won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and two Sports Personality of the Year awards in 2018.
  • Lauren Steadman – Three-time Paralympian, Rio silver medallist, double world champion and Strictly Come Dancing star
  • Brenda Trenowden CBE - Chair of the 30% Club, targeting to get more women on boards and in senior leadership roles in FTSE companies
  • Georgia Brown- Director of European Originals at Amazon Studios


Over 400 guests attended the networking event, sponsored by Odgers Berndtson and Afiniti, which took place at The London Cabaret Club in Holborn. Guests enjoyed a champagne reception, provided by Lidl, and the chance to bid on auction lots including: a Tottenham Hotspur football shirt signed by all the team, four tickets to the Women’s FA Cup Final, a signed book from Dame Kelly Holmes and dinner at top London restaurants, including The Curtain.

The star-studded panel also discussed mental health, giving an insight as to how it has affected them and how they’ve coped. Mental health issues are the number one reason for young people getting in contact with the NSPCC’s counselling service, Childline.

 Speaking at the event, Clare Balding, said: “With mental health issues being the cause of over 100,000 calls to Childline, the NSPCC needs support. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to discuss routes to success and fulfilment and importantly how to overcome challenges with a group of awe inspiring women from sport and business, they are all Trailblazers.”

The evening provided a platform to empower the future generation of women and young people, while raising much-needed funds for Childline.

Dame Kelly Holmes, Olympic gold champion, said: "To become an Olympic champion, I had to go through a difficult journey which included facing mental health problems. Not many people knew what I was going through, and that's one of the problems for many victims of mental health.

"Around one in four people have mental health problems, and we need to do all we can to help them. For young people, the issue is getting out of hand in terms of the stressful situations they have to go through. There's a lot more to be done, but thankfully a lot is already being done to help young people."

We were honoured to be joined by Emily, a sport and broadcast journalist who has been working in the industry for over 10 years, who bravely shared her story with guests. Emily was helped by the NSPCC when she was 17 after years of sexual, physical and mental abuse by a family member, and this was her first time speaking publicly about the experience. Emily highlighted why the NSPCC and Childline are such a vital lifeline for children and the importance of events, such as Trailblazers, to raise funds and awareness.

All the money raised on the night will help Childline counsellors to answer every young person who contacts them, currently the charity can only respond to 3 out of 4 children who need their help.



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