A CHARITY which helps change the way people face disfigurement is opening its first-ever regional support centre in Sheffield after a £250,000 funding boost.
Changing Faces expects to support thousands of people with conditions, marks or scars that alter their appearance when it opens in the city next year.
The organisation was able to make its first move outside London thanks to money from the Big Lottery Fund.
It will work closely with Sheffield hospitals and also educate people to transform public attitudes towards people with disfiguring conditions.
Those affected after accidents, with birth defects or from health problems such as strokes are also expected to travel to the centre from across the north of the country.
Paul Keen, lead volunteer for Yorkshire, said: “Without this funding we could not have established a presence in Sheffield and in Yorkshire.
“That presence is important for the 35,000 to 40,000 people with a facial difference across the county who want and need the kind of support we’ll be offering.
“It’s taking that huge step forward so we don’t just have services in London and taking them to people in the north.
“It also strengthens the partnership we actually have with health services and provides a strong basis for tackling stigma in society.”
The 20-year-old charity’s Sheffield facility in the city centre will create two jobs.
Staff will offer specialist psychological support so people can gain confidence or skills as well as a skin camouflage service.
People affected will be able to learn more about their conditions and also meet others in the same situation.
Sheffield GP Carl Egdell said “I am delighted Changing Faces will be delivering services in Sheffield. That will extend the support we can provide for people whose appearance is affected by surgery, accident or from birth and help people enjoy more fulfilling lives.”
Mr Keen, of Sheffield, also said Changing Faces was appealing for readers’ fundraising help to match the funding over three years.
He added: “This is bringing new services to Sheffield and we would love the help of readers with fundraising.”
Visit Changing Faces for details or to donate.