Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Ask Sam?

Hello, I am writing this letter because I would like to know more about Ask Sam, and I think others might, too.

Are you one person or a team?

How do you choose what to reply to?

How many letters do you answer each week on average?

How many letters do you receive each week on average?

Do you enjoy reading and answering your letters?

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.

Kind Regards

Ask Sam


Hi there,

I often get letters asking who I am and more about what I do. I'm happy to talk a little bit more about what I do, but I don't usually talk about who I am because the most important thing is your letters and the response I give to them. Who I am is less important and I wouldn't want to take the focus away from your letters. I hope by answering this letter that it might make more people feel able to share their problems with me.

I do work at Childline and am very familiar with how Childline works, what our helpline and counselling service is like and all about our website and the things that are on it. You won't get to talk to me on the helpline or in any other way outside of writing to my page, but I hear about the problems and issues that young people talk to Childline about generally.

Every single letter is read - usually more than once - and I read most of them myself, but I do have a lot of help. Other people who work at Childline will help me to read the letters, check that you’re safe and to help me to write and publish the letters on the website. I sometimes have people who can help me to understand an issue that I might not be familiar with - and I might talk to experts outside of Childline too. I'm not an expert on most of the subjects I get letters about, but I do know lots of people who are.

Choosing letters to answer is definitely the most difficult part of my job. Each week I receive a few hundred letters and each one of them deserves a reply. There is no way I could respond to that many letters, so instead I try to answer as many of the issues that people have written in about. So, if I get lots of letters about bullying in the last few weeks, I'll try to pick a bullying letter that will help as many people cope with bullying as possible. I also think about the time of year and what people are likely to be struggling with - so if it's time for exams then I'll try to answer more letters about exams at that time of year.

I try to answer a few letters each week - usually 3 or 4 but some weeks it can be different. If I don't choose your letter to answer it wasn't because of anything you said and it doesn't mean it was a bad letter. Almost everyone who writes to me doesn't get a letter published, but usually there are letters I've answered before which you can find my response to which will help. Whenever I'm writing a letter it's for everyone, not just the person who wrote to me. Sometimes writing the letter and sending it to me can really help, even if I don't answer it. You'll know that I've read it and it can help just knowing that and having a way to let things out.

And to answer your last question - yes I love reading and answering your letters. People write amazing things to me all the time and I wish I could share all of them and answer more. I know that sometimes things get so tough you need someone who can listen - and that's what Childline is here for. Everyone at Childline, no matter what they do, is on your side and wants to be here to help you through the difficult times.

I hope this has answered some questions, but mostly I hope it encourages anyone who is thinking of writing to me to go ahead and send me a letter.

Take care.


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You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

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