Campaign to save family centre fails

Staff and service users at a family centre run by the Children’s
Society in Brighton have raised concerns about the gap in services
the centre’s closure this week will leave.

The St Gabriel’s family centre, run by the children’s charity since
1977, provided a range of long-term, therapeutic support services
to families and was the only non-statutory resource of its kind in
the area.

After a six-month campaign to save the centre, staff and users
admitted defeat this week as it closed its doors for the last

Trudi Seagrave, who attended the teenage pregnancy group, said: “St
Gabriel’s gave me so much confidence and made me feel things were
possible. I’m at college now and I’ve got everything I wanted
thanks to the support and advice from the staff there. I don’t know
what will happen to other people in my position now.”

Dave Smith, acting assistant director of operations at the
Children’s Society, said the closure was a result of a change in
priorities. “We are now concentrating on children of asylum
seekers, those with disabilities, runaway children and those
affected by domestic violence and can no longer commit to this kind
of work,” Smith said.

Last month 115 charity staff were told they would lose their jobs
to save £5m a year.

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