Primary pupils can now pick up the telephone and call for help if they get stuck with a problem, whether it is at school or in the home. The Hong Kong YWCA is introducing a new Children's Hotline, organised by the YWCA's Hotline Counselling Service Team. It offers help to children who may have difficulties with their studies, or who may want to discuss personal or family problems. The target group are primary school pupils between six and 12 years. Tracy Ma Man-kiu, of the YWCA's Chun Seen Mei Chuen Social Service Centre, said the hotline would be especially useful for children who had problems communicating with their parents. The children will feel as if they were talking to 'big brothers and sisters', as the hotline will be manned by a group of young but well-trained secondary student volunteers, Ms Ma said. Posters and announcements on the radio and in the newspapers will be publicising the children's hotline. In the meantime, the counselling service team is recruiting volunteers from secondary schools to handle the hotline. Applicants should be Form Four to Seven students. They should have a good academic record and be members of the Hong Kong YWCA. At least 15 volunteers will be recruited, as three teams are needed to serve the hotline. A volunteer would have to work one shift a week. The hotline opens on September 23, and will be available every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm. The number is 2711-6622 (five lines). Those interested should call 2715-7647. Volunteers will be trained in self-understanding, child psychology, telephone skills, peer counselling, and the primary school curriculum. On completing a total of five sessions of training, the student trainees will be on a probation period of one month before they are registered as hotline volunteers. Till the student volunteers are ready to take up their telephone duties, the hotline will be handled by persons with prior experience in this kind of work.