Club of the week: Burnley Play Association

Lancashire Telegraph: Burnley Play Association which meets on a Monday and Thursday evening and a Saturday morning at the Vanguard Community Centre in Burnley Burnley Play Association which meets on a Monday and Thursday evening and a Saturday morning at the Vanguard Community Centre in Burnley

FOR the past 30 years, Burnley Play Association has provided fun activities to help enrich the lives of disabled children in borough.

The charity was set up in 1983 to provide somewhere safe where children could play, and at its height provided fun sessions for thousands of children aged five to 16 in the borough.

The club, which caters for disabled and able-bodied children provides a range of activities including computer lessons, cookery, sports activities and arts and crafts.

But now the future of the club is uncertain, as funding is due to run out after Christmas.

Previously, funding from the government allowed it to run 30 centres and train 150 volunteers and staff.

But since the recession, the group, which is now based only in the Vanguard Centre and at Holly Grove School, has struggled to find regular donations to keep the three weekly sessions running with several staff for 47 young people.

Now running on reserves and a small, two-month grant from Short Break to run a weekly computer club, it will be without funding in the new year.

Burnley Play Association manager Audrey Thornton, 70, said: “The group was set up because although there were other groups around, none had the skills or suitable equipment to provide many disabled children and their families with trained staff and specialist equipment.

“Burnley Play Association is just brilliant.

“The children get so much from it and it gives those families with disabled children a much needed break. I really enjoy volunteering for the association and giving something back to the community.

“I love working with children. It is brilliant to see them develop and be able to do things that they previously could not do.

“We have had members come back later in life, who are now married with children, to thank us for the help that we have given them. If we had to cut some of the sessions or staff then fewer children would be able to take advantage of the fun play equipment and other activities we offer which would be incredibly sad.”

Anyone who is interested in making a donation should call 01282 416194.

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