CLC centre facing axe

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AN invaluable facility which serves the Wickford community is under threat of being closed down.

Today (Thursday November 6), the Wickford CLC is meeting with local school head teachers and school governor members to decide on the future of the centre.

The centre, which was built in partnership with Essex County Council,
is a facility which serves Wickford school children and the local and wider community.

Its primary purpose is to provide a venue for collaborative learning for the children of

Wickford, delivering a wide and varied curriculum program throughout the school year.

Rachel Voller, Wickford CLC and extended services manager explained: “Due to the conservative party coming into power, all the funding the centre receives from the government has been withdrawn.

“When the centre opened in 2010, it was a sensation, supplying creative learning opportunities for all children in the Wickford area.

“This still continues today with the range of free flow skills and activities that we provide.

The youth clubs improve the children’s confidence and everyone can mix together to create an inclusive centre.”

Discounted day trip tickets are offered in the school holidays and isolated parents are accommodated for through, ‘Scoot and Play’ sessions, a time when children can play in a safe environment, with parents having time to communicate.

Originally, Wickford CLC received revenue through local schools of £28 per head to support the running costs.

However, with government budget cuts, £5-£8 is all they can afford.
Sadly, if this continues the centre will be unable to run.

Disappointed

Rachel said: “With some schools withdrawing altogether, because the government has been pushing for schools to become academies, it is disappointing that not all children in Wickford are benefitting”.

A Go Fund me page raised just under £2,000, along with a Facebook poll created to find out if an annual contribution of £10 would be accepted by parents, with an incredible 93% saying yes.

Rachel said: “We need to achieve trust in the governors and headteachers of the Wickford schools to make contributions for another year to keep the centre running and to come up with a three year sustainability plan to continue”.

As a more long term solution, Rachel is looking into Wickford CLC becoming a foundation charity so they can apply for better external funding.

“People are upset and gutted to hear the centre may be lost and people have been very supportive with donations and support. I would like to thank everyone who has donated and supported us postively. People will struggle to find a place to go without the CLC”.

To find more information visit the Wickford CLC Facebook page.

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