Wiltshire Publications

Westbury mums fight to keep special needs centre open

A GROUP of Westbury mums have joined forces to urge the public to help raise funds to save Stepping Stones special needs nursery. 

The nursery in Trowbridge serves west Wiltshire and is used by many children from Westbury with special needs. However, the centre which requires £50,000 a year to run, has been told that £10,000 of funding it usually receives from Wiltshire Council has been removed after central government withdrew its ‘aiming high for disabled children’ grants.

The centre is for children with special needs in the west Wiltshire area and it identifies which children would benefit from specific therapy and offer support to help them reach their potential. Children from birth to five, with varying levels of need attend Stepping Stones and as the district specialist centre for west Wiltshire, it plays a vital role in the development of many Westbury children.

Nikki Gallop, a mother from Westbury, has joined in the campaign to help save the centre and stop any cuts to vital services that special needs children in the area require.

She said, “When a parent is told their child is hurt it is devastating, to hear your child has a disability is extremely difficult to deal with. My son is extremely autistic and the support from Stepping Stones to not only my son Charlie but to me as well has been incredible. The staff have supported us through everything, they love their job, it isn’t just a pay cheque to them.

“Stepping Stones has been a great place as well to meet other parents going through the same thing as me; they understand the difficulties  and it is very useful to have a place we can all talk through our problems.

“Before Stepping Stones we were visiting Bath hospital almost on a daily basis to see specialists. But at Stepping Stones specialists ranging from dieticians, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists are all in one place at one time which makes it easier for me, but also for Charlie, who becomes incredibly distressed meeting lots of new people and has panic attacks visiting the hospital.”

Another Westbury resident, Mike Sutton, has said, “I am very disappointed that Wiltshire Council feel unable to offer more support to Stepping Stones and the very valuable work they do with disabled and disadvantaged children which leads us to wonder what are the priorities in our society.”

Fundraising activities are ongoing in order to raise the £10,000 needed to save Stepping Stones.

Nikki Gallop will be organising a Fun Day at the end of June where she has already obtained a signed One Direction photograph for the raffle.

Contact Stepping Stones on 01225 350004 or visit www.steppingstonestrowbridge.co.uk to find out how to donate to the centre.