Supporters of closed Dame Vera Lynn Trust School for Parents in Sproughton, which helps children with learning difficulties, produce proposals to reopen centre
PUBLISHED: 14:41 14 February 2015 | UPDATED: 18:22 14 February 2015
Parents, staff and supporters of a school for children with learning difficulties have taken the first steps to reopen the centre after it closed because of funding problems.
The Dame Vera Lynn Trust School for Parents, which is based in Sproughton and supported 14 children who have difficulties with movement and conditions such as Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy, shut on Thursday.
The trust said it was unable to raise the money needed to run the service – with its “hands being tied” when it made the decision to close.
Parents and staff are fighting to establish their own charity to replace the trust so they can run the school’s services again.
Dozens of people attended a meeting today to work on the proposals which include raising at least £80,000 to pay for staff’s annual wages.
Alison Stonham, head of early years at the school, said: “We have been here helping the children and families for 15 years, we have a bank of parents, past and present, who will help us. We have talked about being cautious but we should be more optimistic as we have a proven track record compared to groups which are just starting out and looking for funding.”
She added that several businesses could give sizeable grants and support once the school registers as a charity.
The meeting heard how John Aiton, a long-term supporter of centre, is working with the trust so the school can establish itself independently. But he warned parents there is a “mountain to climb” to achieve their objectives.
“The difficulty with running a school like this is that it’s very expensive, our teacher to pupil ratio is virtually one-to-one and it costs about £90,000 a year to run the school and most of that is salary for staff,” Mr Aiton said.
“Around 10% goes to the cost of the building and another 10% on admin. What we will need to do and need your support for is to raise the money year-on-year.”
Alison Mitchell, from Bramford, had her daughter Hannah, 12, who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, attend the school 11 years ago. She said staff were still a support to the family today.
Around £10,000 has been raised on the school’s donation website so far: www.gofundme.com/sproughtonschool
To find out more about supporting project, call Mr Aiton on 07798 747611.