Children’s charity centre set to close

VULNERABLE children across 1066 Country could be left with nowhere to turn to for emotional support if a counselling service closes, it has been claimed.

The NSPCC, which has a centre based in Sedlescombe Road South, St Leonards, is closing on November 30, creating 11 redundancies, in a move to save money.

It also wants to consolidate its services in a series of bigger centres.

Jean Crowe, one of the staff affected, said: “The centre in St Leonards was opened more than 20 years ago because there are so many children here who need help.

“Some staff have been here for nearly all that time.

“There will be nothing left for children here as they get counselling at the centre.

“The nearest they will have to go is in Croydon or Gillingham in Kent. It’s terrible and too far for people to travel.

“At the moment children can just walk off the street to come and see a counsellor but in the future they won’t be able to.”

She said all 11 staff had received a letter from the charity, outlining its plans.

“The counsellors here are so upset by the decision,” she added.

Julie Cole, the NSPCC’s regional head of service for the south east, said: “As part of its developing strategy, the NSPCC has reviewed its current locations and agreed where our services will be located in the future.

“Inevitably this means that some existing locations will close and one of these is Hastings. This decision does not reflect the quality of the service delivered by the Hastings team, but the fact that the NSPCC cannot be everywhere. Our aim is to ensure our funds are used to maximum effect, enabling us to have staff in locations where they can focus on helping as many children as possible.

“The NSPCC will also strengthen and develop a number of services for children and adults across the UK.

“These include our helplines - ChildLine for children and our NSPCC Helpline for any adult concerned about a child - and our new ChildLine Schools Service, which will reach all primary aged school children.”