It comes at a time when cuts are being made up and down the country to provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The Tresham Centre in Lisson Grove is open to disabled children up to the age of 18 and their families. It has been created with input from local parents including those from Westminster’s SEND parent and carer forum 'Make it Happen' .
Open seven days a week, the centre features a sensory room, soft play area and a dedicated office for members of the parent and carer forum.
It was officially opened on Tuesday by the autistic gardener Alan Gardner.
Councillor Heather Acton, cabinet member of family services and public health, told Nursery World, ‘We continue to invest in our children’s services and this is really important in terms of our city for all promise. We want to make sure that all families living in Westminster live to the best of their ability, which is why we have upgraded this centre to be an up to the minute facility for families with children 0-18, living with disabilities.
‘We recognise how important it is to invest in children’s early years, but also provide support up until the age of 18. In the past, there has been a bit of a gap in support post early years.’
Councillor Action said that the funding for the centre has been found as a result of renegotiating with clinical commissioning groups to free up money.
Hend Rahman, chair of Make it Happen, who has a 13-year-old son diagnosed with autism, ADHD and epilepsy, said, ‘The centre is tremendous. For parents with special needs children, it is difficult to use mainstream services. Now we have a place where our children can play in a safe environment and be stimulated.’