Victim Support moves into Woodford Green to help those in need

A charity helping victims of crime launched a new centre in Woodford Green on Tuesday, which will enable it to reach more people.

Victim Support has closed offices in Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Waltham Forest following funding cuts and will now be based at Bourne Court in Southend Road.

The move will see 22 members of staff and nearly 100 volunteers merged into one single team that will cover all four boroughs.

Senior service delivery manager, Shelley Hart said: “We are bringing all the teams together so we can share resources.

“It’s cost-effective and we can also deploy a better service as we are available to give instant support and advice to people when they need it.

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“There are no boundaries so this is a more holistic approach which means we can reach more victims of crime.”

The building features two meeting rooms and a facility where victims can be seen.

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For those who can’t travel, meeting points are being set up in public buildings such as churches and libraries in the three other boroughs.

Home visits and meetings in other safe locations will still be arranged by volunteers, who gave the new set up the thumbs-up at the launch party, which featured a steel band.

Great-grandmother Grace Newton, who has worked as a volunteer in Redbridge for the past 25 years, said: “The combined office is a wonderful idea as we will be able to co-ordinate more easily.”

She added: “There is so much crime out there and I love helping people to cope.”

Another volunteer, Soames Shillingford of Southend Road, spoke of the benefits of having more people to share experiences with.

The civil servant, who was crowned volunteer of the year in 2009, said: “We were a bit fragmented before so this will help us to learn new things from each other.

Victim Support has said there would be no job losses as a result of the four-borough merger.

However staff will go through a restructuring process later this year.

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