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People power at its finest has meant a nursery earmarked for closure has been saved.
The Children’s Resource Centre, based in Darent valley Hospital, is a specialist nursery for children with severe, complex and life limiting illnesses and disorders.
Last week parents of the children who use the nursery, which is totally reliant on Kent County Council funding, were sent a letter to say the facility would close.
The centre has been open for 25 years and provides two hour sessions, Monday to Thursday, for children with complex needs.
Most of the children are unable to walk and talk and some have serious medical needs which could not be supported within a mainstream setting.
The nursery, which has eight children on its books and a waiting list, was due to close on March 31.
Funding for children attending the NHS-run specialist nursery service at Darent Valley Hospital will continue after KCC listened to concerns
But families and friends rallied together to stop the closure, forming the Facebook group “Save the CRC SN Nursery from Closure (Darenth Valley)”, which within less than a week had over 2,000 members.
The Messenger has also been putting pressure on KCC to explain their decision, for over a week.
Finally, on Monday Roger Gough, KCC Cabinet member for education and health reform told the Messenger that the funding and the service would continue.
However the location of the nursery was still a concern as it is the Kent Community Health NHS Trust which provides the funds for the cost of the room withing Darent Valley Hospital grounds.
Today, a spokeswoman for the trust said the cost of the rental will also continue to be covered.
Mr Gough added: “Funding for children attending the NHS-run specialist nursery service at Darent Valley Hospital will continue after KCC listened to concerns from parents of the eight children it supports and the wider community.
“It had been proposed that this funding would be transferred to support other services in the early part of 2014.
"So while it is important that the council takes great care over how it spends public money, I am happy to commit KCC to continue providing the £30,000 to support Kent Community Health Trust in keeping this provision running for at least the next 12 months – and support the children currently at the nursery.
“The council will be talking directly to the families involved, and with Kent Community Health Trust, about the way forward for these services – and I will be talking a personal interest in these discussions.
“Investment in expanding specialist nursery places is already a priority across the county.
"At the same time, I know that these services are important to children, which is why KCC also provides specialist input within individual schools. It is also important to stress that the council will continue with its £1m commitment to bringing in specialist NHS therapists as part of education provision across all age groups.”
The nursery was initially based in Livingstone hospital, but was moved to Darent Valley Hospital when it opened.
However DVH are not involved with the running, or funding, of the special needs nursery.
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