Centre for disabled children opens in Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 14:48 11 June 2012

Party: Disabled children dance to mark the opening of the centre in The Heathway

Party: Disabled children dance to mark the opening of the centre in The Heathway


A state-of-the-art centre catering for children with a wide range of physical and learning disabilities has opened in Dagenham.

The Heathway Centre has been kitted out with sensory play equipment for autistic children, hearing loops for the deaf, musical instruments and a swing designed for wheelchair users.

The community centre, in Heathway, is set to run after-school clubs, healthy eating lunch groups, give peer-to-peer advice and information on benefits.

It has been hailed as a “fantastic” resource which is expected to become a hub for the families of children and young people with disabilities.

Dad George Tidbury, 64, plans to take his 15-year-old daughter Charlotte, who has cerebral palsy, to the centre during the summer holidays.

Mr Tidbury, of Hunters Square, Dagenham, said: “It is unique as there is nothing else in this borough that can cater to children of all disabilities.

“Parents can use it as a family respite as well.

“It truly believe this will be a flagship for the borough. It is long awaited. We as parents are over the moon.”

The free hub, unveiled on Thursday, also has a secure play area outside, a fully equipped kitchen and a computer suite for training courses.

Users are also set to have access to the playing fields that are part of the nearby Trinity special school in Heathway.

Developed with around 300 families, the centre also boasts track-and-hoist facilities enabling users to harness disabled children and move them safely inside rooms.

“The Heathway Centre is a fully-inclusive centre delivering services to children with additional needs or disabilities and their families,” said a Barking and Dagenham Council spokesman.

“It will be a hub for families to access any information they need.”

The council said the facility would run exciting activities every day during the summer holidays.

The Heathway Centre will be open six days a week and be accessible without referrals.

It was developed following consultations with the voluntary sector and carers.

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