Buxton charity helping youngsters with special needs to close

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After decades of helping children with special needs one charity is closing its doors because it is struggling to recruit members and get funding.

The Buxton Opportunity Club was set up in 1972 originally as a playgroup but since 2000 the group changed the way it operates.

Now funds are raised to support children from Buxton, High Peak and Derbyshire Dales in mainstream nurseries.

Committee member Hilary Lomax said: “Unfortunately we will be closing at the end of the summer term we are very grateful to the support we have received over the years but due to the recession we are finding it difficult to keep raising the money we need.

“And sadly some of our members are not with us anymore and it has become impossible to recruit.”

The charity subsidised significant numbers of pre-school children who have special needs, ranging from physical and developmental needs to severely autistic children.

An extra key worker is on hand to help with the child and gives support to the family and nursery. A member of the committee visits each funded child once a term, to discuss their progress.

The committee consists of experienced professional volunteers with backgrounds in education, child health and special needs and every penny raised goes directly to the children - administrative costs are met by the volunteers.

Since 1972 the club has made every effort to meet the demand for assistance and fundraising up to £7000 per term in some years. Large amounts were successfully sourced from Children in Need and The John Horniman Trust.

More than 200 children have been supported by the charity since 2000. Zachary Rochitts aged four, started Buxton Nursery in September and had delayed speech problems. A one-on-one support worker from Buxton Opportunity attends every session with the youngster.

His mum Helen, 27, said: “I can’t believe the change in him and it is all thanks the support worker.

“He had very little understanding of speech and used to go into meltdown because he couldn’t compute what was being said.

“Now nearly a year on he has gone from only speaking about 20 words to being at the same level as his friends and is really looking forwards to starting school.

“It’s really upsetting to think that other children who may be in a similar situation to Zach won’t get the help they need.”