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Threatened Highgate family centre in fundraising bid for £10,000

PUBLISHED: 13:43 26 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:03 02 February 2017

Parents and staff are fighting to keep the Highgate Family Centre going

Parents and staff are fighting to keep the Highgate Family Centre going

Archant

Parents and staff of a Highgate early years centre have set up a charity page to raise £10,000 in a desperate bid to save their vital centre.

Children at Highgate Family Centre, which is fundraising to keep the services running Children at Highgate Family Centre, which is fundraising to keep the services running

The Family Centre, attached to Highgate Primary School in Storey Road, has set up a justgiving page as it is struggling to meet its running costs.

Funding was axed by Haringey Council last April as part of its budget cuts which saw a number of childrens’ centres in the borough close.

A lifeline of services are offered to new and established parents at the centre including breast feeding support, baby sensory sessions, post-natal pilates, music sessions and a toddler play together course to give carers ideas.

Some funding is received from Whittington Health which it relies on and families are charged a small fee for some services but the total fails to meet all costs.

Parents and their children enjoy many different services at the Highgate Family Centre Parents and their children enjoy many different services at the Highgate Family Centre

Emma Picket, a breast feeding consultant who volunteers at the family centre, said: “It’s a desperate situation. If this centre was to close it would mean all the centres in this part of Haringey would be gone. It would spell major trouble for parents who will really struggle.

“Haringey Council closed Stonecroft Children’s Centre in Hornsey and Rokesly Children’s Centre in Crouch End. This Highgate centre lost its official status, so if this closed as well there would be nothing.”

She added: “The assumption that rich and middle class people don’t need support is nonsense. Highgate has a diverse population with different needs. It’s a myth everybody is rolling in cash.

“The family centre does the same thing children’s centres traditionally do, breast feeding support, weigh-ins, pilates, massage and stay and play. Families need support but we’re down to the wire.”

Clare Fraser, who has 2 ½ year-old son Henry and 10 month-old twins Edwin and Beatrice, said parents would struggle without the centre. She said: “I’ve been using the family centre since Henry was born. Having twins was a sudden shock, I couldn’t go out if it wasn’t here. Coming here gives me somewhere to go and the support is amazing. People help with everything from holding one of my twins to changing one of their nappies. I rely on this network of support.”

Karenza Evans, who has 15 month Madeline, said: “Hearing the centre is in jeopardy is really stressful, as I want another child and I use it so much. The people who run it are so supportive. The idea of not having it, I’d have to consider moving.”

Katherine Nashnush, the centre manager, said: “Against all odds we’ve kept it going. We’re planning big fundraising events in March. The running costs are quite significant. Other centres have closed, we really can’t afford to.”

A spokesman for Haringey Council said: “Highgate Children’s Centre was de-designated by Haringey in 2011 – so no funding was withdrawn in 2015 as this is not a Haringey commissioned provision. You would need to speak to the school about funding of the children’s centre

“Rokesly was closed by its Governors not Haringey – there more in the cabinet report from late last year which says “Cllr Waters clarified that Rokesly school had themselves opted not to have a Centre”. To donate on the family centre’s justgiving page click here

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