Surrey safeguarding board steps in as NSPCC closes centre

Surrey Safeguarding Children Board is working to put new arrangements in place to provide therapeutic support for abused children following the announcement that children’s charity NSPCC is to close its counselling and witness protection centre in Leatherhead.

The charity has confirmed it will move all of the staff from the Leatherhead-based centre to Croydon as a result of the closure.

Ben Byrne, chairman of the Surrey criminal justice board victim and witness group and a member of the Surrey Safeguarding Children Board, said the board was working to ensure that resources would be provided to plug the gap left by the closure of the Leatherhead centre.

He said: “I think we will be able to fill the gaps around witness support through the witness service, but I think the more difficult gap to fill will be around the therapeutic needs of children who have been abused.”

But Byrne added that it was difficult in the “current climate” to provide new services.

The NSPCC said moving staff from Leatherhead to Croydon would enable them to have the “most impact on the greatest number of children”.

The decision to relocate followed research into the most suitable locations for the service and an NSPCC spokeswoman said that the local authority and other partners in the area have been consulted.

The charity is offering training around its models of intervention to victim support and child and adolescent mental health services in Surrey to minimise the impact of the centre’s closure.