Cumbria Council joins campaign to save NSPCC centre

CUMBRIA County Council is backing the Evening Mail campaign to save Barrow’s NSPCC centre from closure. The council is calling for an urgent meeting with NSPCC representatives in a bid to keep it open.

This comes following news the national charity is proposing to close its NSPCC South Cumbria centre in Walney Road.

The child protection team, made up of 11 employees, operates the SAFE domestic abuse service from the base.

The Evening Mail launched its ‘Save Our NSPCC Centre’ campaign yesterday, with the support of the mayor of Barrow, Councillor Dorothy Dawes, and community campaigner Pauline Charnley.

Now county councillor Anne Burns, who represents Barrow, has backed the campaign.

She met with Moira Swann, head of Children’s Services and Helen Smith, head of Children’s Social Care, to discuss the proposal.

Cllr Burns said: “We are seeking an urgent meeting with the NSPCC to discuss the situation as we are concerned about the possible closure. The county council were not consulted on the matter.

“I am backing the Evening Mail campaign and I am sure the county council will back anything which could help keep it open.”

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council said: “We are dismayed and unhappy with the way things have been handled so far.

“We are looking at how we can safeguard some of the vital services dealing with children.”

Loretta Blackburn, chairman of NSPCC Furness Fundraisers, was one of the people who set up the campaign to bring the centre to Barrow in 1992.

She has been raising money for the centre ever since.

Mrs Blackburn said: “This has come as a huge shock to me as much as everybody else.

“There was no indication it was coming. It is devastating news. We want to back the campaign and help anyway we can.

“It would be an enormous loss to the area if it closed, there are children who need help.

“The closure could be down to lack of funding, there is no other reason they would shut it because the team has been very successful.”