£260k boost for disabled youngsters

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PLANS to create a new indoor play centre for disabled children at Benton’s Rising Sun Country Park look set to be given a head start following North Tyneside Council’s success in securing a government grant of more than £250,000.

The council has been given a £363,518 handout from the government’s Aiming Higher for Disabled Children fund to be spent on improving services, facilities and short break destinations for disabled children and their families.

Two new minibuses and improvements to short-break care facilities across the borough are among the items on the council’s shopping list.

It also proposes to join forces with the Wallsend-based charity Pathways 4 All to turn a disused building at Rising Sun Country Park into a short-break care centre for the disabled.

David Lilly, the council’s cabinet member for children and learning, said: “Supporting our most vulnerable residents is a priority for us, and the provision of relevant short-break care for disabled children and their families is an integral part of this.

“This extra funding is great news and will further improve the service we currently provide, making a significant, positive difference to the lives of the disabled children that we support and their families.”

The purchase of two new minibuses for Heatherfield Mews, a council-run short-break care facility in Annitsford, will make it easier for children to get there and cut the amount spent on taxi fares.

Some of the funding could also be used to carry out structural and maintenance work to the Rising Sun Country Park building, so it could then be leased to Pathways 4 All.

Pathways 4 All is also pressing ahead in the meanwhile with its own efforts to raise £400,000 to spend on doing up the building.