The charity Victim Support Isle of Man has officially opened its newly refurbished offices on Albert Street, Douglas.

The event was attended by their patron Elaine Christian, representative of the Department of Home Affairs, the police and corporate supporters.

The refurbishment which began in December 2019 but was put on hold over the three lockdown periods has just been completed.

It has ensured that the offices are now accessible to all and includes a ramp at the front of the building, widening of doorways and a disabled toilet.

The flat above the ground floor office has been converted into office space, a staff room and an extra client room.

The project cost £77,000 and was part funded by two local trusts, The Elizabeth Clucas Trust and The Gough Ritchie Trust.

Five companies also assisted with new facilities for the charity.

These included Microgaming, which donated office furniture and computers; telecommunications company Sure, which donated money for a coffee machine; Descon, which donated chairs; ORS, which donated filing cabinets and the Co-op, which paid £500 to cover the cost of outside garden furniture to ensure face to face appointments for highly vulnerable clients during lockdown could still take place.

Paula Gelling, manager at Victim Support co-ordinated the project.

She said: ’The original committee acquired the premises in 1999, the office was on the ground floor and the flat above was rented out to generate income, but as the charity grew we needed more space.

’In 2002 we had 193 referrals, 183 contacts 64 of which visited the office. By 2020 and even with Covid this was at 270 referrals, 2205 contacts of which 619 visited to the office.’

Victim Support Isle of Man provides a free and independent service to victims of crime with trained and accredited domestic violence advisors, sexual violence advisors and young and old person violence advisors.

The charity says that the past year has presented many challenges for the organisation, which operates with a team of five staff and volunteers.

It has seen a steady increase in new clients.

The welfare team can be contacted on 679950 or [email protected].