Children’s protest on closure of their club

OAKS After School Club to be closed, Dunbar Drive, Hailsham, May 17th 2013 E21003P'Some of the group of children who attend OAKS After School Club
OAKS After School Club to be closed, Dunbar Drive, Hailsham, May 17th 2013 E21003P'Some of the group of children who attend OAKS After School Club
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The campaign to save the Oaks After School Club in Hailsham has been gathering pace, with youngster making posters and banners in protest.

The after school club, which takes place in Dunbar Drive from 3.30pm each day, is being forced to shut after the county council decided to take back the building it operates from.

Children attending the Oaks After School Club will have nowhere to go in July.

With the date of the closure drawing ever closer, the youngsters got creative last week and made posters calling on East Sussex County Council to rethink its decision.

The club is being closed because East Sussex County Council wants to turn the building into a support service for vulnerable children.

Wayne Spicer, who has a child attending the club, explained he works in London and needs childcare while he travels to and from the city.

Mr Spicer said, “We are a group of parents desperately trying to fight plans by East Sussex Council, who due to Government cuts and lack of space in the town, plan to close down our after school club which has been running for more than five years.

“As working parents we will have nowhere to send our children.

“This place, dedicated to providing a vital service for the local community - a safe, reliable and professional after school club - will close in July because East Sussex County Council wants to turn it into office space.”

The closure of Oaks was raised as a concern by parents, including Mr Spicer, at the last Hailsham Town Council meeting.

Mr Spicer said that Hailsham was an expanding town, with housing developments by Taylor Wimpey, Redrow and Charles Church, with an increasing demand for an after school club service.

The Oaks After School Club has operated from the site in Dunbar Drive since 2007 and currently has 24 children on its register.

It is Ofsted registered and cares for children from five primary schools in the area.

Parents and staff have failed to find alternative accommodation.

Debbie Adams, East Sussex County Council head of children’s centres services, said, “The council informed the after school club in July last year that we would no longer be able to offer accommodation for the club in Dunbar Drive.

“The club has had a year to find alternative accommodation, which we believe is a reasonable period of notice.

“The space currently used by the after school club is adjacent to premises used by our looked-after children’s service, and we need the space to provide a child-friendly environment for children looked after by the council to have contact with their parents.”