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First Opportunities looks for new ways to support babies, children and parents of children with special needs as it closes the provision at Ashley Junior School

Posted 18/8/2020

It is with great regret that the Trustees announce that First Opportunities will be closing in its current form from October half term 2020.  The charity will remain open and the Trustees will continue to explore ways of supporting local young children with special needs, focusing on the under 3 age group.

After much agonising and many meetings, the Trustees have come to the conclusion that the group cannot continue to run in its current form and is unsustainable for the following reasons:

-          the move towards inclusion which has resulted in a drop in referrals or late referrals

-          Difficulties with funding from local authorities

-          Key staff who have resigned and will be difficult to replace

-          Restrictions on children attending two settings due to Covid-19

-          the difficulty in finding a Treasurer for the Board of Trustees

Unfortunately, our remaining staff will be made redundant and we have informed Ashley Junior School that we will no longer be using the playroom which we have used for the past 40 plus Years.  We are hoping that the school will be able to make use of the sensory room and the sensory garden which were set up with funding from the “People’s Millions”.

We very much hope that you will continue to support the charity to enable the Trustees to find other ways of supporting babies and young children with special needs in the local area.  We are exploring options such as stay and play, holiday play sessions, small grants to purchase equipment etc.  Please feel free to contact us with any suggestions via our email  When know our financial position after November 2020 the Trustees will be exploring other ways forward.

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Posted 11/4/2020

Please keep updated on current news via Twitter or via Facebook page

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Annual General Meeting

Posted 4/3/2020

You are warmly invited to attend the 45th Annual General Meeting of the Joan Turnbull Opportunity Group (First Opportunities) to be held on

Thursday 12th March 2020 at 7.30 pm at Ashley School.

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News & Events

Posted 9/6/2019

What difference do we make?

A Parent’s Message.

My child has been at First Opportunities since she was 18 months old and during this time the team at First Ops have become an integral part of the team around her, working tirelessly to support her with her ongoing medical needs related to her Achondroplasia (short limb condition).  Having spent the first year of her life lying down, her physical development has always been delayed but over the last year and a half she has come on leaps and bounds.  Her keyworker’s gentle encouragement has give her the confidence to try new things and develop interests in painting and climbing the slide.  First Opportunities has a solution based approach to her development and learning.  They have worked closely with her Occupational Therapist and Portage worker, and have happily taken on and worked towards her Speech and Language objectives within the setting.  All of this has contributed to huge progress in all areas of learning.  Above all else, she loves her days at First Opps!

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