Lewisham pre-school seeks donations to survive

Meredith Pearce writes:

The Lewisham Opportunity Pre-School (LOPS) is threatened with closure as a result of Lewisham Council cutting the grants on which it relies. We're asking for help from BC readers.

LOPS is an inclusive pre-school with up to half of its places offered to children with additional needs (all sorts, some very complex, at the moment there are children with Downs, cerebal palsy, Autism Spectrum and hearing impairments for example). LOPS is the only inclusive preschool of this nature in Lewisham borough, and transport is provided for disabled children that would otherwise be unable to attend. The pre-school is located at the rear of the Ladywell Leisure Centre car park.


In addition, LOPS has a drop in session every week for children with additional needs. Often parents of children that have just been diagnosed attend and gain much support, or parents turn up to the drop in who have not attended other baby/toddler groups before and have been socially isolated due to their children's needs. There are very few groups like this around. I am not sure where the next nearest one is.

The pre-school is a registered charity and its grants have been cut, to the extent that the pre-school will have to close at the end of March if we can't raise £15,000 (bearing in mind there is only a small number of parents, half of whom are looking after disabled children, so this is a big sum for a small number of people to raise). Parents were only informed about this approximately 3 weeks ago, however we have already managed to raise close to £5,0000.

If the pre-school is to survive long term a lot more money will need to be raised as the projected council grant cuts are going to be deeper. 

This place is so important, people in our community will continue to need this resource, the people that will need it in the future probably don't know about it yet.

The website of the pre-school is www.lops.org.uk
We have created a campaign website www.savelops.com
Donations can be made at http://www.charitygiving.co.uk/savelops

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it even legal to cut a grant to such an important service in terms of child development and equality?

Anonymous said...

This service sounds a lot more worthy than a Playgroup in Telegraph Hill when it comes to cuts. I hope the supporters of the Telegraph Hill playgroup take note of other things that are facing closure.

Lewisham Council said...

In July 2011, we awarded the Lewisham Opportunity Pre-School (LOPS) three-year grant funding. This funding is secure until March 2014. We have been advising LOPS of ways to diversify their funding base and improve their long-term viability.

Anonymous said...

Lewisham Council policy is to withdraw all pre-school funding, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

The school still receives a grant from Lewisham council - it is the vital top-up funding that has been cut. Either way, the school needs the help of the wider community to stay open. It is a wonderful place.

Seriously? said...

Wow - if you are cut, AND the council nursery provision for pre-school children with complex needs at Ladywell is also cut (as was threatened - does anyone know what happened?), then what will become of all these kids (and their parents)??

Anonymous said...

Despite all the evidence about early intervention, in Lewisham, early years are being disproportionately cut.

Anonymous said...

Their Ofsted report brought tears to my eyes, sounds like a wonderful place. Makes me fear for the future of our society if places like this have to close.

Brockley Nick said...

Within an hour or two of running this story, I got another email from Meredith, who said that they'd already started to receive donations from BC readers.

It's a point that can sometimes get lost in the arguments over trains or cafe culture, but BC readers are a lovely bunch.

Anonymous said...

it's been posted on Mumsnet too, so maybe more donations from a wider audience

Anonymous said...

From the last Ofsted report -

"Overall the quality of the provision is outstanding.

The pre-school offers a caring, inclusive and stimulating learning environment, in which children make excellent progress in relation to their starting points."

Shocking to think that such a well run facility can be cut like this.

Anonymous said...

I hope the councils attitude to funding has nothing to do with the fact that LOP sit on the leisure centre site, which they want to develop once Lewisham LC is open.

Horribly cynical, i know.

Anonymous said...

I'll wait for Lou to say something then I'll agree with him

Anonymous said...

Interestingly the richest boroughs around the UK seem to have the lowest rate of council cuts. Funny that. Lou and other people on this blog constantly bang on about how these cuts are essential but it doesn't seem to extend to the more well off boroughs in the country. Lou and chums, you have been brainwashed by the media and government scare mongering. Something which you accuse readers of this blog on a regular basis.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/nov/14/council-cuts-england-detailed

Anonymous said...

Ladywell Leisure Centre will be redeveloped and LOPS isn't part of the plan. It's in the council's own paperwork.

Sara said...

wLOPS is awesome. I took my son (and his baby brother) along to the friday drop-in soon after the shell shock of getting an autism diagnosis and here was the warmest of welcomes from a team of hugely experienced and kind staff, full of advice, contacts and acceptance. They were a beacon in a very dark time -- and clearly were a lifeline to a lot of the other families there. What other pre-school staff know how to do cystic fibrosis massage or how to deal with a child with a feeding tube? They all know makaton sign language for use with children with downs or autism, they know how to use picture exchange communication and visual time tables, they have a sensory room. It is an absolute scandal that such a place could close while the gurning toryboys tuck into their grouse and hand out tax breaks to the superrich.

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