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Hornchurch children's charity First Step at risk of closure

PUBLISHED: 12:07 11 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:07 11 March 2019

First Step in Hornchurch is at risk of closure due to financial difficulties. Photo: Ken Mears

First Step in Hornchurch is at risk of closure due to financial difficulties. Photo: Ken Mears

Archant

A well-known Hornchurch charity that supports youngsters with disabilities and special needs is at risk of closure due to lack of funds.

The First Step charity is celebrated it's 30th anniversary last year and will now be launching its social enterprise plan to be able to continue delivering its services. Photo: Ken MearsThe First Step charity is celebrated it's 30th anniversary last year and will now be launching its social enterprise plan to be able to continue delivering its services. Photo: Ken Mears

First Step is launching a social enterprise appeal following an announcement that the charity has reached a critical stage in its fundraising efforts.

Since First Step’s funding was withdrawn by Havering Council in 2017, the charity has been able to continue delivering its services by drawing on the finite source of its reserves.

However, the charity has now reached a critical stage and it will be launching an immediate plan of action.

First Step faces three options, to significantly reduce its services supported by one or two members of staff from September 1, or continue with delivery virtually unchanged which would result in the charity closing by March 2020.

A final option to avoid both of these scenarios is to launch an appeal to sustain First Step for the future.

The charity will be holding a meeting on Wednesday, March 13 to deliver its plan for social enterprise.

Mark Halls, chief executive of First Step said: “We strongly encourage our community of parents, past parents, carers, supporters, funders, corporate partners, staff and volunteers, as well as the wider community, to please support the plan and attend if possible.

“If you are unable to join us at First Step please follow the meeting on Facebook Live.

“The future of First Step is wholly reliant on those of us who know how essential our support is to families of children with special needs, and disabilities.

“We hope you will help in making this social enterprise a reality.”

The meeting will take place from 7pm with a 7.30pm in Tangmere Crescent. To reserve a place contact Mark.Halls@firststep.org.uk.

To support First Step visit justgiving.com/firststep.

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