CHILDREN’S charity the NSPCC is celebrating after moving into a new fit-for-purpose home in Old Town.
A total of 22 workers from the charity are now housed in a three-storey office block in Little London Court after merging their two previous centres in Victoria Road and Penhill.
The centre now runs all four key services in the town, including outreach to young children who have been victims of sexual abuse, as well as parents expecting a child, parents who are struggling or are in drug and alcohol recovery.
The new centre has six specially designed rooms for young people of various ages, as well as meeting rooms and offices.
It is a far, and welcome, cry from the service Jeanette Chipping saw the beginnings of 25 years ago.
“It was just me and a ground floor flat in Welcombe Avenue with no furniture – I even had to lay the carpets,” the team manager said.
“We were setting up a family centre then but it grew from there and it is amazing how far we’ve come – to move into this new building now is fantastic.
“It is great that Swindon has this service and we are lucky to have it. The next closest centre like ours is in Bristol to the west and London to the east.
“Without it there may be nothing there to help children or parents in these situations. We work very closely with our partners, including social services, and they do a fantastic job. We deal with the aftercare and also prevention.”
The charity’s sexual abuse victim programme, called Letting the Future In, currently sees 40 young people between the ages of four to 18, while there are dozens of parents who are members of the Baby Steps group and the Parents Under Pressure service for those in recovery from addiction has seen an 80 per cent increase in referrals.
This demand for the charity’s work makes the move to the new centre all the more important according to team manager Anouska Inns.
“We had two sites before which did different work and now we have been able to bring the centres together so we can work as one team,” she said, “We are much more accessible now.”
For Jeanette and Anouska, the move is also a celebration of the work done by local fundraisers for the charity as they are the ones who made it possible.
“With the recession everybody is stretched so it just goes to show that people in Swindon are so generous.”
Anyone who wants to know more about the NSPCC’s services locally can call the centre on 01793 425700. Or to volunteer or get involved with fundraising contact Caroline Morgan on caroline.morgan@-NSPCC.org.uk.