How’s this for a drop-in cen­tre?

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

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.

PHOTO: ME­NACHEM ABRAMS

Use the lift: a crane low­ers into place one of the eight mod­ules that make up the new Sal­ford chil­dren’s cen­tre

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