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Making Memories

With Eric Hall

Hornchurch charity helping disabled children says closure would be painful

A Hornchurch charity fighting closure says “It’s almost too painful to consider but we are having to face that reality”.

First Step was established in 1988 and supports over 100 families of children with special needs, but cuts in its funding mean it could now have to close.

The local authority stopped providing them with money as part of their austerity measures and the charity are now relying on “finite” reserves. 

If they continue to provide their current service they would face closure by March next year. Alternatively, they may have to implement a reduced service supported by only one or two members of staff in September 2019. 

To avoid both of those outcomes, they’re looking to launch a social enterprise which can produce enough profit to sustain their long term needs. 

Chief Executive, Mark Hall, says: “We are going to establish this business that will trade and the profits it will make will actually fund First Step. That is something that will continue long into the future.

“This will give us a foundation of funding upon which we can add our existing fund raising activities.”

Members of the public are being invited to a meeting today at First Step’s building in Tangmere Crescent Hornchurch to discuss it’s plans. 

It starts at 7.30pm and is expected to last until 9.15pm. 

“We would love people to come along so we can share what we’re doing and so that you can you join us in making this a reality,” Mark added. 

It’s also being streamed on Facebook Live. 

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