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NSPCC's vulnerable children's centre opens

Category: Wales

Published: 22nd Dec 2009 07:11:05

A multi-million pound charity centre which supports vulnerable children in Wales is being officially opened.

The NSPCC says the new Diane Engelhardt House in Cardiff will allow it to continue the pioneering work of its domestic abuse service.

The centre has been built with the support of several donors.

One mother who turned to the charity for help for her two young children when she left an abusive relationship said it had saved their lives.

The Cardiff woman, who wants to remain anonymous, said her son and daughter, now 10 and six, had suffered abuse like her at the hands of her partner.

But she said an NSPCC course, part of its domestic abuse service, had helped them deal separately with the emotional issues which they faced.

The mother said: "We get to talk to other people, and the kids get to talk to other kids who've been through similar things, abuse, physical abuse mental abuse, kids who've witnessed abuse with their parents

"It helped a great deal for my son to express how he was feeling. His anger was a great issue and it helped control that 100%. Made him feel not to blame, because that was a big part. And he come out a bigger and better boy at the end of it."

Without the help, the mother said she believed her son "would have totally gone off the rails".

She added: "I would not have known where to have turned for help for me and my children. No they saved us, they saved our lives basically."

The Diane Engelhardt Centre is named after one of the donors, the wife of Henry, boss of Cardiff-based Admiral Insurance.

Terrible impact

The couple have made a "significant" personal contribution towards the Building Brighter Futures Appeal.

Mrs Engelhardt, who will perform the official opening, said she was "extremely proud to be involved and that she truly believed in the charity's aim to end cruelty to children.

She said: "This new centre will enable the NSPCC to continue to help many more vulnerable children and young people in Wales who have experienced the terrible impact of child abuse and neglect."

The centre also provides officers and conference facilities for the charity's research, policy and campaigning work.

Welsh Hollywood star Catherine Zeta Jones, an NSPCC ambassador, and Esther Rantzen, ChildLine founder, have centre messages of support.

Chairman Sir Stanley Thomas said since it was launched in April 2008, the local community have taken the appeal to their hearts.

But he added: "Just because the doors are opening today, it doesn't mean our job is done. "We have raised more than £2.9m to date, but we still need to raise a further £1.6m to ensure that the NSPCC can continue to make a fundamental difference to the lives of vulnerable children and young people across Wales."

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