How’s this for a drop-in centre?
A £450,000 centre for children and families in North Manchester’s Charedi community has dropped into place in Salford — literally.
The centre comprises eight individual modules that were carefully lowered into place by crane over two days last week. It will be operational once utilities have been connected, with an official opening to follow.
The Aguda Centre for Children and Families will deal with between 250 and 300 families a month, according to centre manager Michelle Ciffer.
“I have been manager here for five years and it has been a long road to get this centre for the community. We have worked very closely with Salford Council, which has acknowledged that our community should have the same services as any other and recognised the cultural differences. Our local MP Hazel Blears has also been of great help. This will make a huge difference to many people in need.”
The land on which the centre stands has been donated by Aguda while the entire cost has been met by Salford City Council.
The centre will house a range of services, including a drop-in children’s play-and-learn facility, a computer suite, library, a health centre and a Citizens’ Advice Bureau. It is one of the first of the government’s Sure Start children’s centres, being rolled out in disadvantaged areas.
“The levels of poverty here are such that we raised £1,000 and bought toys for Chanucah, half of which we are giving away to very poor families and half we are selling at cost price. My house looks like Santa’s grotto,” said Mrs Ciffer. “They come to us with all sorts of problems and now we will be able to do so much more to help.”
Cllr John Warmisham, council lead member for children and families, praised the “unique” partnership between council and communal organisation.
Use the lift: a crane lowers into place one of the eight modules that make up the new Salford children’s centre