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‘One-stop shop’ for people with special educational needs opens in Erith

PUBLISHED: 17:01 07 November 2016 | UPDATED: 17:07 07 November 2016

Children enjoying at Saturday afternoon Building Buddies session at the new centre

Children enjoying at Saturday afternoon Building Buddies session at the new centre

Archant

The centre provides activities, advice and support for parents, carers and children

A ‘one-stop shop’ for people with special educational needs (SEN) has opened in Erith on the site of the former Normandy School.

The centre is designed for parents, carers and their children to get involved in activities and get free, confidential and independent advice, as well as useful information and support.

It also offers support to community organisations, schools and professionals who work with families.

Local charities, including SNAP and Bexley Voice, are based at the site, along with council services for families and children with SEN up to the age of five years.

Cabinet member for children’s services Councillor Philip Read said: “This space was the ideal solution for services that until now had been spread across the borough in premises that were not always fit for purpose.

“The rooms are all on one level, there is easy parking and the centre is accessible by public transport from all parts of the borough.

“Families can see several different organisations in one place and get all the help or information they need. They can also take part in free or subsidised activities in a welcoming, safe and supported environment.”

Rose Robb, operations manager from Bexley Snap, added: “To have a central point for families to come for advice, support, practical courses and activities for their disabled children is fantastic.

“They can be reassured they will receive a warm welcome in a non-judgmental environment to support them through their difficult time coming to terms with their child’s needs and discovering their next steps.”

Chairman of Bexley Voice Claire Watts commented: “We are very pleased to finally have a secure base to work with parents and carers of special needs children. We will be right in the middle of the centre, along with other SEND professionals.

“After seven years of meeting in coffee shops and using our cars as an office it is lovely to be able to store some of our belongings and work from a central hub.”

To find out more about the centre, call 01322 359475.

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