Craigavon NSPCC centre which helps vulnerable children deal with sex abuse is to shut

Face to face services for vulnerable children will end at the Craigavon centre of the NSPCC as it shuts its doors by the end of October.

Thirteen jobs are also to go at the centre in Carn Industrial Estate were hundreds of young children sought counselling after abuse.

The Craigavon centre is the only one to close in NI as Belfast and Foyle centres are to remain open.

It helps children and young people from aged four to 17 and their parents and carers to deal with the impact of sexual abuse.

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart with her DUP party colleague Cllr Margaret Tinsley at with some NSPCC staff who work at the Craigavon centre. It is due to close at the end of October.

Last year Caroline Holloway, who runs the NSPCC Craigavon Service Centre, said it was facing significant challenges due to the COVID-19 lockdown as face to face therapeautic work with vulnerable children had to cease.

Statement from the NSPCC Assistant Director

Bronagh Muldoon, NSPCC Assistant Director for NI, said: “We are incredibly grateful for everything that staff in our Craigavon base have done to support children and their families and we are continuing to help them in any way we can as we make changes to the way we deliver our local services.

“We want to reach even more communities in Northern Ireland and our work with schools, including a named point of contact for each one, specialist direct services, local campaigns and community partnerships will now be coordinated from a hub, with staff based across two locations, in Belfast and Foyle.

“Childline, which is here for all children no matter their worry, our helpline for adults with concerns about a child, and our Young Witness Service - where the team offers support for children who attend court - all continue unaffected by these changes.

“But our face to face work with children from our Craigavon base is coming to an end and sadly a number of roles will be made redundant. We’ve been working with staff on training and suitable alternative employment where possible and we thank all of them for their hard work and everything they have accomplished for children so far.

“With less early or preventative support available for families, growing online safety concerns, and the impact of the pandemic, we are extremely worried about the risks facing children here. Our work to prevent abuse has never been more important and we’re confident that these changes will help us make the greatest impact in keeping children safe across Northern Ireland.”

Statement from MP Carla Lockhart

Meanwhile Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart posted a photographer of herself party colleague Cllr Margaret Tinsley with two of the staff, stating: “An emotional and sad day for all the staff and service users and supporters of NSPCC, Craigavon.

“There were many tears and along with Cllr Margaret Tinsley. I was honoured to be invited to the team’s celebration event, as they plan to close the doors of the centre for the last time at the end of October.

“ This team have been dealing with child sexual abuse cases and therapeutic recovery for over 30 years but unfortunately the NSPCC at a London level decided to close the centre.

“The services they provided were, and are, much needed and used by our local Trust, the Youth Justice Justice Service and many other referrals.

“It is a hugely disappointing move from the charity and whilst we know that businesses have to evolve this has left such a gap in services for some of our most vulnerable in society. I know that this is a difficult time for so many but we know that the commitment of staff will come through and without doubt there will be efforts made to fill the gap.”





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