SureStart searching for new premises: ‘We will endeavour to minimise any disruption to programmes’

ABBEY SureStart, Rathcoole Drive. INNT 31-511CON
ABBEY SureStart, Rathcoole Drive. INNT 31-511CON

Staff at ABBEY SureStart have assured local parents that they will endeavour to minimise any disruption to services during the search for new premises.

The family support service has been given notice to vacate its community education centre at Rathcoole Drive. But staff have stressed that they are working with a range of partners in a bid to secure alternative accommodation.

A statement released by ABBEY SureStart on Monday, August 8, gave an assurance that it will continue to offer its services to families in the local area.

It said: “Following the recent announcement that ABBEY SureStart will only have access to our current base at the Community Education Centre, Newtownabbey Community High School until the end of 2016, we wanted to take this opportunity to reassure our parents and families that the project will remain open and our funding is unaffected. The staff within the project and our funders at DE and the HSCB remain committed to ensuring the project continues to deliver high quality services to families and children throughout our catchment area.

“Whilst it is disappointing that we will need to find other premises, we are working with a range of partners with a view to securing alternative accommodation for both our office base and programme delivery. We will endeavour to minimise any disruption to programmes throughout this process.”

The statement continued: “Our aim is to continue to provide programmes in the Community Education Centre until we are required to vacate the premises and we have identified potential venues for programme delivery and have shared these plans with all relevant agencies.

“We are pleased to advise parents that letters confirming details of placements for the SureStart Developmental Programme for 2-3 year olds will be sent to families in the next few days

“We would like to thank everyone for their messages of support and good wishes during this period and we will update you on any further developments.”

On Friday, August 5, local MP Nigel Dodds and MLA Paula Bradley revealed that they had received confirmation from Education Minister Peter Weir that ABBEY SureStart has been granted more time to find new accommodation, meaning it won’t have to quit its community education centre until February 2017.

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