Centre in plea for bigger home

THE leader of a special needs centre which exists thanks to public donations has made a plea for a permanent and bigger home.Stepping Stones Play and Learn Group rents rooms at the Wilson Marriage Centre, in the Hythe area of Colchester, for a highly successful centre offering places to both able and disabled children aged from 0 to 16-year-olds.

THE leader of a special needs centre which exists thanks to public donations has made a plea for a permanent and bigger home.

Stepping Stones Play and Learn Group rents rooms at the Wilson Marriage Centre, in the Hythe area of Colchester, for a highly successful centre offering places to both able and disabled children aged from 0 to 16-year-olds.

Over the years, the centre has expanded to offer help to families of children with special needs, including a baby group, nursery, respite care on weekdays and weekends, an after-school club and babysitting.

A brand new playground and sensory garden was opened yesterday at the nursery, funded by a £24,000 donation from Barclays.


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The playground and garden has specially designed play equipment, a summerhouse, bubble machine, water toys, benches, fragrant plants and backdrop of painted scenery.

Carol Nice, Stepping Stones co-ordinator, said: “The donation has enabled us to build a sensory garden for our children who have multi-sensory disabilities.

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“The garden will stimulate their senses to develop their skills and parents will be able to use the garden as a family activity.

“There are very few places available to meet the needs of our children so we are extremely grateful for the support that we have received from Barclays to make this a wonderful experience for the children.”

Mrs Nice said: “We would like to expand, but we can't do within the building. It would be nice to be in the grounds of Wilson Marriage. We had hoped with all the land being sold off round here we might be able to have a building near the play area.”

“We'd really like a building that could take our 0 to 16-year-olds and take in all aspects of care and education and respite.”

Mrs Nice said she had hoped the regeneration of the Hythe would lead to an opportunity to create a new centre - but now all the land around the Wilson Marriage Centre has been sold off.

Stepping Stones receives about a third of its income through statutory grants from the Government, but raises the rest, up to £100,000, through charitable donations and fundraising.

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