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Dame Esther Rantzen and the Mayor of Luton have officially opened a new NSPCC service centre.
Child protection agencies, the Bedfordshire Police Commissioner and the Luton Local Safeguarding Children’s Board joined Dame Esther Rantzen and the Mayor of Luton, Cllr Mohammed Farooq today to mark the NSPCC's official opening of its Luton service centre.
The team at the centre run a number of services for local children and young people who have suffered sexual abuse or have been/are at risk of being sexually exploited.
The Protect and Respect service works with young people aged 11-19 who have been sexually exploited or who are vulnerable to this form of abuse. This work is carried out in partnership with a range of other agencies and helps young people to understand what sexual exploitation is, spot the warning signs and know their rights. The young people are also given help to access services around sexual health, housing, faith and education.
Letting the Future In, helps children aged four to 17 years who have experienced sexual abuse to come to terms with their experiences and embrace their future along with teaching them how to keep themselves safe. At the end of January the service was developed and the team will now also be offering six months’ support for young people with a learning disability who have been sexually abused and who have made a disclosure, or who have made a partial disclosure.
NSPCC Luton Service Centre Manager, Alison Stewart-Ross, said:
"It’s great to be officially opening the Luton Service Centre. We started delivering our services last year and we are particularly pleased to be extending Letting the Future In to include children with learning disabilities as these young people are often overlooked in the provision of services.
We are committed to protecting children affected by sexual abuse and we hope the centre will be a base where children can feel safe and protected.
But we know that we cannot work alone. By forming close links with statutory agencies and other vital stakeholders, we aim to ensure that learning from our services has a long-term impact for children and young people."
The centre is staffed by a service manager who has overall responsibility for the premises and links with other external partners, two team managers who ensure the delivery of high quality services, and up to seven practitioners who carry out the direct work with children and families, supported by a small administrative support team.