HUNDREDS of youngsters are to benefit from a new children’s centre in the east end of Lincoln following a £90,000 investment.
SureStart Abbey Children’s Centre has officially opened at Lincoln Baptist Church, in Croft Street
Lincolnshire County Council has contributed £60,000 and helped secure £30,000 from the Impact Migration Fund for the makeover, which meets Ofsted standards.
The centre has a kitchen, two meeting rooms, toilets and an outdoor play area.
It is now home to play groups and activities, SureStart services, parent support and advice groups and child health clinics.
The church will continue to run and support community groups in its premises, including Humpty Dumpty’s parent and toddler group.
Mum Kirsty Croucher, 38, of Baggeholme Road, Lincoln, said she was very excited about the new facilities.
She said: “The children’s centre is great for the community.
“We moved into the area from the High Street when I was 7 months pregnant with Molly, who’s now 3.
“I was looking for somewhere to take her and, as a mum new to the area, I didn’t know what was on offer or where to go.
“I found out about a Mamas and Papas stay and play session at the church and I haven’t looked back.”
Senior minister, The Reverend Andrew Hubbard, said the baptist church had enjoyed a presence in the area for the past 150 years.
He said: “We came to this site 37 years ago because the local authority wanted our old site in Monks Road for Lincoln College.
“We have always been very committed to this community and we try to do whatever we can to alleviate some of the issues and improve services in this community.
“One of the big needs is to try to provide a venue where children’s services can base their work.
“We estimate that at the moment we have 400 children using our premises already each week.
“We estimate that will rise to 750 a week. The part of the building which houses the children’s centre was not used by us very much between 9am and 5pm in the week.
“We have developed a partnership with children’s services for them to use it Monday to Friday during office hours, while we can still use it at other times.”
Janet Bye, 39, mother to twins Jaycen and Lauren, both 3, runs the Multiple Miracles support and play group for parents of multiple births.
“The group will still meet at the church but I am interested in accessing the SureStart services at the children’s centre,” said Mrs Bye, of Florence Street, Lincoln.
“I think the new children’s centre is great and there’s some really nice things there for children.”