Children in Luton are set to benefit from a new NSPCC centre which has just opened in Adelaide Street.
The children’s charity chose Luton for the centre as it is an area of “high need”.
The centre will offer services for child victims of sex abuse and run two projects including Letting The Future In.
Service centre manager Steven McIntyre said: “Letting The Future In is about saying to a child, ‘What happened to you was not your fault and it doesn’t have to impact your future.’”
There is also a programme for families of abuse victims, which teaches parents how to protect their children in the future, and looks at how as a family they can “close the door on abuse” and move on.
Steven said: ”Some of the most powerful work I have ever seen has taken place in a service centre.”
At the moment the centre is working with families from their old centre in Hemel Hempstead but soon they will be taking referrals from Luton Borough Council.
They are working with the Luton Safeguarding Children Board, Beds Police, children’s centres and women’s centres.
Steven said: “We want to get to know as many people in Luton as possible. But the great thing about our work is it’s not done by postcode. If it makes sense to work with a family from outside Luton, we will do it.
“We don’t get money from the government so we are independent, our work for children isn’t related to the government of the day. We can just do what we think is right for a child.”
One of the campaigns is ‘PANTS’ - the Underwear Rule.
It’s a simple way to help keep children safe from abuse (see below). It is shocking that this is something that needs to be taught, but just like teaching children how to cross the road or not to speak to strangers, it is a valuable lesson which could one day protect them. Steven said: “We’ve had fantastic feedback from parents about the Underwear Rule. They all say they just didn’t know how to talk to children about this subject before, but the Underwear Rule is a really simple way to broach the topic.”
The centre takes cases by referrals, but Steve stresses that if someone is worried about a child, would like to know what the NSPCC is all about or would like to fundraise, they can drop in.
Fundraising is crucial for the NSPCC as 92 per cent of their funding is from public donations and they don’t get any money from government.
Fundraising manager Sally Phipps said: “If you’ve got a fundraising idea, just do it. We want people to be proactive. Get in touch if you have an idea and we can support you. It will make such a difference to the NSPCC and the lives of vulnerable children in Luton.”
The Underwear Rule:
P - Privates are Private
A- ALways remember your body belongs to you
N - No means no
T - Talk about secrets that upset you
S- Speak up, someone can help
Leaflets are available from the NSPCC centre in Adelaide Street or nspcc.org.uk/underwear.
If you would like to get involved in fundraising or volunteering, call Sally Phipps at the Regional Centre on 0207 650 3270 or email SPhipps@nspcc.org.uk