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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 firstopps@hotmail.com.  When know our financial position after November 2020 the Trustees will be exploring other ways forward.

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