NSPCC face-to-face services in Sheffield could close and move to Leeds hub
Children’s charity NSPCC has confirmed is it “consulting” on whether to shut its Sheffield face-to-face offices in favour of a regional hub in Leeds.
The national child abuse prevention charity is reportedly aiming to halt one-to-one therapeutic work at local offices and instead pivot to “preventative support” for families and in schools.
However, if the proposal goes ahead in summer it would mean the closure of Sheffield’s face-to-face office in George Street while making up to 19 members of staff redundant.
NSPCC says the move to regional hubs – which for Sheffield would be based in Leeds – would allow it to work with more people.
But one member of staff, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “The void left by this will be massive and will have a detrimental impact on children and families in Sheffield.
“The NSPCC have helped thousands of children and families in Sheffield and South Yorkshire over the years and have had a strong local presence.
"Although they are a national organisation, they could legitimately claim to have been a local charity.
"They claim they will do 'better with less', but in fact, they will be doing 'less with less'
"Staff were informed remotely via a brief, scripted 'presentation'. There was no acknowledgement of the impact, of their efforts, or the fact that they have kept the organisation afloat during the pandemic. Instead, they were told they would be given access to a CV skills workshop.
"They are heroes, every last one of them - they have done so much for the city of Sheffield and they have been treated like an inconvenience - something to be rid of as quickly as possible so the new strategy can be implemented.”
NSPCC Sheffield ran the highly-publicised “It’s Not Okay” campaign in 2018 to fight child sexual abuse as well as the “Look, Say, Sing, Play” campaign to help parents bond with their newborns during lockdown.
The centre in George Street has 19 members of staff and offers therapy and support to children and families on a face-to-face basis.
If it and other centres in Yorkshire close, the proposed hub in Leeds will be used to co-ordinate regional work.
"But our face-to-face work with children from our base in Sheffield would come to an end,” said assistant director for NSPCC Yorkshire Debra Radford.
"Our mission is to prevent child abuse and we’re proposing a change to the way we run some of our local services to help us reach even more communities in Yorkshire.
"We’ve begun a consultation with staff, and we’ll be listening to feedback and doing everything we can to support those affected.
"With less early or preventative support available for families, growing online safety concerns, and the impact of the pandemic, we are extremely worried about the risks facing children. And so, the proposed hub will help us in our aim to address those risks, preventing abuse and neglect before it happens.”
A spokesperson also said any family currently receiving NSPCC services in Sheffield would complete their programme of work.
The charity claims it will also have a named individual for every primary and secondary school.
The final decision on the proposals to close the George Street office is expected later this summer.