Future of Burnley Play Association in doubt

Photo by F1 Online / Rex Features
Photo by F1 Online / Rex Features

A Burnley charity which has provided play sessions for generations of disabled children from across East Lancashire for the last 30 years may be forced to close.

Burnley Play Association, which was set up in 1983, is struggling to raise enough funds to keep the service running. It holds sessions twice a week for disabled children from Burnley and across the area at the Vanguard Community Centre in Bevington Close.

Mrs Audrey Thornton, who has been with the charity since 1984, said: “We’ve always survived ourselves without any government funding and we’ve managed quite well but in this political climate we are like a lot of other small charities. We are struggling. People give their money to the bigger charities.”

The Play Association had to temporarily stop one of its weekly sessions in a bid to claw back some cash and Mrs Thornton said if it had to stop running groups, the effects would be devastating for the 47 children and their families.

“This is something that we never thought would happen.

“We are just keeping our fingers crossed and hoping something comes up.

“It is the only thing like it in the area. We have children coming from Oswaldtwistle and Haslingden. The majority of the children are disabled. Many are on the autistic spectrum and some have cystic fibrosis and other disabilities.

“If they didn’t come to us, they wouldn’t get to go anywhere.

“It’s great to see the progress that they make when they come to us.

“There’s a 14-year-old who came to us when he was five. He had no speech and now he’s got to 14 he has started to talk. It’s brilliant to hear him.”

A ladies night to help give funds a boost will take place at the centre on Friday, November 29th, from 7pm.

The event will feature a selection of stalls for Christmas shopping, fashion shows and alcoholic refreshments will be served.