New children’s centre opens in Lewes

Young families in Lewes have given the thumbs up to a gleaming new home for the town’s children’s centre.

Lewes Children’s Centre has moved into the former social club rooms at Malling Community Centre, which have been transformed with £200,000 funding by East Sussex County Council.

The project is a partnership between the county council and Lewes Town Council, which owns the building, and sees the centre move from the YMCA in Westgate Street, its home since 2009.

Cllr Sylvia Tidy, East Sussex County Council lead member for children and families, visited the centre, in Spences Lane, South Malling, for an event to mark its opening.

She said: “I think it’s wonderful – I’m very impressed. The thought and detail which has gone into the centre is amazing and it’s located in an area where the need is greatest.

“The centre has very enthusiastic staff who really want to make a difference and this place will help them to do that.

“The more we can make a difference in children’s early years, the more benefits they will gain as they go through life.

“We’d like to thank the YMCA for their valuable support over the last four years.”

The self-contained children’s centre boasts two multi-use spaces for activities and training, consultation rooms for advice work and health visits, a reception area and communal social area.

It proved a hit with Ansara Ahmed, from Lewes, who visited with her three-year-old daughter, Tayiba.

She said: “It’s brilliant – it’s got a really nice, warm, welcoming feel to it. It’s all been designed with the children in mind and a lot of thought has been put into it.

“It’s good for my daughter to mix with other children and because English is her second language she can learn from them. The staff are really experienced and I feel confident to leave my children with them if I’m doing one of the courses which run here.

“The centre has really helped me as well and you know if you have any issues there’s someone here you can turn to.”

Ping Ping Xiao Askaroff, children’s centre cluster co-ordinator for Lewes, said: “With the facilities we now have here, we can accommodate more families and because we’ve got more space it means the number of services we can offer will expand.

“The parents all think it’s fantastic and can’t wait to use the new centre.”

The children’s centre offers free services to parents-to-be and families with children under five, including play sessions and other fun activities.

It also provides health services including midwife and health visitor appointments, immunisations, and health advice and information, while staff can also help families in overcoming any difficulties.

More information is available by calling 01273 336870 or on the children’s centres section of the county council website.