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Dame Vera Lynn Trust school for children with cerebral palsy in Sproughton will close due to funding difficulties

PUBLISHED: 15:36 05 February 2015 | UPDATED: 15:36 05 February 2015

Henry Barnard and Jessica Chambers at The Dame Vera Lynn Trust school in Sproughton which is to close.

Henry Barnard and Jessica Chambers at The Dame Vera Lynn Trust school in Sproughton which is to close.


Parents and staff at a school for children with cerebral palsy are “devastated” after learning the centre will close because of a lack of funding.

The Dame Vera Lynn Trust school in SproughtonThe Dame Vera Lynn Trust school in Sproughton

The Dame Vera Lynn Trust’s School for Parents, based in Sproughton near Ipswich, is to close next Thursday.

The school opens three days a week and supports 14 families with children with motor learning difficulties.

Steven Lane, chief executive of the trust, said the closure was due to “financial difficulties”, adding that staff had struggled to raise consistent funds to keep the school going.

Alison Stonham, head of early years, said the news came when staff were preparing to celebrate the school’s 15th birthday.

Dame Vera Lynn at the opening of the Dame Vera Lynn Trust School in 2010Dame Vera Lynn at the opening of the Dame Vera Lynn Trust School in 2010

“We are just devastated, I cannot express how high the emotions are,” she said.

“We do not have a high turnover of staff here because the work is so fulfilling, that’s why we just stay – I have been here for 11 years.

“We just love the job and what we do to help the families as much as we can. The families need support and there’s a community feeling here.

“Families sometimes come here and they are so desperate; they do not know where else to go.”

The school almost closed in 2010, when it was called Suffolk School for Parents, because of funding problems but was saved by the Dame Vera Lynn Trust.

A total of five part-time staff who work at the school have been told they are to lose their jobs.

Mr Lane said: “The Dame Vera Lynn Trust has provided services at the school for the past four years and have probably given support to 50 families in that time which is very positive.

“Unfortunately the location of the charity, which is quite remote, hampers us fundraising. Despite out best efforts we have been unable to raise the money that is required to continue the service.

“The closure goes against the principles of the charity, we do not want to close the school but our hands are tied.”

Parents are now fighting the closure and have launched an appeal fund to keep it running, go to www.gofundme.com/lljtog to make a donation.

The Trust has one other school in West Sussex.

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