Hailsham kids club will be forced to close

Oaks After School Club, Children's Centre, Hailsham, May 3rd 2013 E19011P
Oaks After School Club, Children's Centre, Hailsham, May 3rd 2013 E19011P

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

The club is being closed in around two months because East Sussex County Council wants the building for a different purpose.

Wayne Spicer has a child who attends the club, which takes place at the community centre in Dunbar Road each day from 3.30pm.

He 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 of which has been running for more than five years.

“As working parents we will have know where to send our children.”

The Oaks After school club has operated from the site in Dunbar Drive since 2007 and has watched 99 children pass through its doors, currently there are 24 on the roll.

Wayne said, “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.”

His eight-year-old daughter Charlotte Spicer, said, “We just moved to Hailsham and I love Oaks, we do loads of exciting things and I love my friends. “

The club is Ofsted registered and has members from five local primary schools. Wayne says it offers the only after school care in Hailsham. He explained the next nearest is in neighbouring Hellingly but does not have the space to accommodate 24 extra children.

Despite the best efforts of the parents and staff no alternative accommodation has been found and so unfortunately the Oaks will close.

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.

“This service will support some of the most vulnerable children in the county.”

Wayne said it was a ‘great shame’ and added, “Hailsham is an expanding town, with housing developments by Taylor Wimpey, Redrow and Charles Church, this will inevitably bring new families into the area and the demand for this service will increase but this service will no longer exist.”