West Yorkshire charity has helped dozens caught up in Manchester Arena bomb attack

Armed police at Manchester Arena. Photo:  Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Armed police at Manchester Arena. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
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MORE people who suffered in the aftermath of last year’s Manchester Arena terror attack were from West Yorkshire than anywhere else in the country other than Manchester, according to a charity.

Victim Support West Yorkshire said it has helped more than 90 people from our county who suffered either physically, emotionally, or both following the suicide bomb attack on May 22 2017.

A total of 22 people were killed in the bombing and up to 64 injured.

Among those killed were 14-year-old Sorrell Leczkowski, a pupil at Allerton High School in Leeds.

Others who died included Leeds Beckett University student Courtney Boyle, 19, and Wendy Fawell, 50, from Otley.

The explosion happened as people began streaming from the doors after a show by American singer Ariana Grande.

Leslie McLean, contracts manager for Victim Support in West Yorkshire, has spoken about the charity’s work helping victims in our region as the first anniversary of the attack nears.

Ms McLean said: “Outside of Manchester, West Yorkshire had the highest number of victims including family members who were there at the time to collect their children.

“It wasn’t just people who were physically injured, but people who were traumatised from witnessing the events.”

“We have caseworkers and volunteers who work directly with victims, providing emotional and practical support.

“It is someone to talk to them, listen and help them try to make sense of the crime that they have suffered and help them develop coping strategies.”

“The support can be provided in the home or in one of our local hubs in of the five districts of Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield.

“People can either go to one of the hubs for support or we can go to their homes.

“That is one-to-one support through our case workers and volunteers but we also run a couple of groups, one specifically for young people from the Manchester attack and one specifically for parents to give them the opportunity to talk through and share their experiences with others who have experienced the same thing.

“The one-to-one support and group support we have been able to offer has been so valuable. There are some victims who have developed post traumatic stress disorder and need access to professional, counselling and mental health services.”

Salman Abedi, 22, detonated an improvised explosive device as people were leaving Manchester Arena following an Ariana Grande concert

Abedi’s bomb exploded in the foyer at the arena just moments after the American pop star left the stage.

People were streaming out of the concert venue as families were gathered in the foyer to collect their children following the show.

West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has praised Victim Support’s work with people caught up in the Manchester Arena terror attack.

Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “The devastation and trauma suffered by those caught up in the Manchester terror attack, which affected a large number of people from West Yorkshire who were at the event, is something that will never leave those caught up in such dreadful circumstances.

“Those affected need our support and help more than ever as they continue to try and rebuild their lives and that is why Victim Support is such a vital service and one that I am proud to be able to commission from the charity.

“Victim Support provides a vital service to victims and witnesses and now for the first time will offer support to those aged under 18 to ensure anyone in need can access professional support regardless of whether they report a crime or not.

“I am pleased that as Police and Crime Commissioner I am able to provide £3.6m over the next three years to ensure that the charity can continue to help those in need when they need that support.

“The charity is there for those who need them and can offer face to face emotional and practical support in a number of Victims’ Hubs from specially trained staff and volunteers.

“Many people often feel unable to get the help they need after a traumatic incident when they are involved as a victim or witness, which can affect them for the rest of their lives, so these new services will ensure that wider support is available.”

Mr Burns-Williamson added: “I would urge anyone in need of support or help to contact Victim Support on 0300 303 1971 or visit www.victimsupport.org.uk or visit one of the Victims’ Hub in each district.”