The NSPCC has announced it will be calling an end to its face-to-face offices based in George Street in Sheffield city centre as soon as it completes its work with anyone currently using it.
Its closure means the loss of invaluable counselling, support and specialists for families and young people in the city and Yorkshire.
It comes as the charity plans to pool its resources into a ‘regional hub’ based in Leeds and cease face-to-face work in the local area. Similar hubs are being created in Cardiff and Liverpool.
Instead, the organisation is pivoting towards using ‘preventative support’ through telephone consultations and non-contact work.
The charity claims it will aim to have a named individual for every primary and secondary school and aim to tackle online safety concerns, the impact of the pandemic and “preventing abuse before it happens”.
"But our face-to-face work with children from our base in Sheffield is coming to an end,” said assistant director for Yorkshire Debra Radford.
“A consultation has now closed and sadly a number of roles will be made redundant in the months ahead. We’re doing everything we can to support staff members affected, including training and suitable alternative employment where possible.
“Every child or family currently receiving an NSPCC service will complete an agreed programme of work.”
The offices on George Street were once championed by the Star as part of a 14-month long appeal for funding in 2002.
Thousands of generous readers dug deep into their pockets and donated more than £250,000 to support the service and help children into specialist counselling as part of the Full Stop Appeal. Cash poured in from hundreds of fundraisers and charity efforts.
Now, 19 years later, the city centre offices are to close.
Debra Radford said: “We recognise the huge fundraising efforts made by the people of Sheffield over the years in support of the service centre, and for this we are extremely grateful. Throughout our 130-year history we’ve evolved to make sure we’re keeping pace with the changing nature of abuse, and focusing on how we can make the biggest difference.
“Our work to prevent abuse has never been more important and we’re confident that these changes will help us have the greatest impact, with the funding we have, in keeping children safe across the region.”
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.
One member of staff, who asked not to be named, spoke to The Star in July after they were first told about the potential closure.
“The NSPCC have helped thousands of children and families in Sheffield and South Yorkshire over the years and have had a strong local presence,” they said.
“They claim they will do 'better with less', but in fact, they will be doing 'less with less'.
“They are heroes, every last one of them - they have done so much for the city of Sheffield.”