Helping to spread the magic of Peter Pan

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13 Mar 2009
A lottery grant of nearly £500,000 is helping to transform the fortunes of Newcastle’s Peter Pan Day Nursery, for children with special needs.

Local MP Paul Farrelly worked with nursery staff and volunteers to promote the achievements of the nursery and he liaised closely with the Big Lottery Fund who awarded the grant.

Their cash lifeline will cover 60 per cent of Peter Pan’s running costs for the next five years and help them to expand further when they move to new premises later this year.

“This cash injection will make a huge difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable children. I’m delighted to do what I can to help,” said Paul.

The charity takes children from birth to five and gives them invaluable care and attention as well as providing vital support and respite to their parents.

Peter Pan’s chief fund-raiser, Mike Topping, thanked Paul for his continuing commitment and said the injection of funds will now mean that more children from the nursery’s long waiting list will be offered places.

And he stressed that efforts are under way to strengthen fund-raising so the nursery becomes self-sufficient when the lottery funding runs out.

The nursery was established in Orme Road, Newcastle in 1969 with the single purpose of providing a happy, safe and stimulating learning environment for pre-school children with special needs.

Babies and children have the use of a range of creative activities, including a multi-sensory room, a home corner and access to a hydrotherapy pool at a nearby school. There is also a meeting room for parents.

Since its inception, the nursery has also forged strong links with health care professionals, including physiotherapists, speech therapists and clinical and educational psychologists who help to meet the children’s needs.

This year the nursery will move to premises adjacent to the Merryfields Special School in Hoon Avenue, Newcastle. The new centre has been funded by Staffordshire County Council.

The Peter Pan Nursery was registered as a charity in 1978 and receives very limited statutory funding. As a result, it relies almost entirely on the generosity of local people and businesses to generate the £140,000 it needs every year to meet running costs.

“Providing educational services for profoundly disabled children is a major undertaking,” said Mr Topping. “But, thanks to the continued hard work and commitment of staff, parents and fund-raisers as well as the tireless support that has been given by Paul, it is a task that we’ll go on fulfilling.”