News Walthamstow

Walthamstow children’s centre shutters after ‘safeguarding concerns’

Details of the safeguarding concerns have yet to be publicly revealed
By Local Democracy Reporter Josh Mellor

The Limes in Somers Road (credit: Google Streetview)
The Limes in Somers Road (credit: Google Streetview)

A Walthamstow children’s centre has closed permanently following the discovery of “significant safeguarding concerns” last November.

The Limes, a disability-friendly community and children’s centre in Somers Road, was forced to close temporarily after concerns were first raised.

In a letter shared with the Local Democracy Reporting Service today, the centre’s chair, Angela Mitten, said the charity originally hoped to reopen the centre in early 2022.

However, the board of trustees has now announced it is closing permanently, as the centre is “unable to sustain its income” due to the period it was unable to open.

She wrote: “It is with very heavy hearts that we are writing to inform you that the board of trustees have made the difficult decision formally to close down the organisation and wind up all services and operations.

“The reason is that we are no longer financially viable. The underlying reason was the safeguarding issue, of which you are aware.

“This necessitated a temporary closure of the premises, which led to The Limes being unable to sustain its income and contributed to the loss of future income.”

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Angela said it was a “sad outcome” after the “extraordinary” impact the centre has had on families, children and young people in the past 19 years.

A spokesperson for the centre added: “We have not been made aware of any charges brought against any individuals in relation to these matters and are unable to comment further.”

Waltham Forest Council said it will communicate with affected families about “alternative services” in the borough.

Inspectors from regulator Ofsted visited the centre in April and December last year. During the second visit, they found the centre was “non-compliant” with Childcare Register requirements.

In October 2017, the centre was criticised by Ofsted after failing to report an incident where a child left the premises without supervision.

Ofsted found the centre did not have appropriate safeguarding measures in place and had not told the regulator about changes in management that would require suitability checks to be carried out.

However, a month later the childcare regulator concluded that it was satisfied with a written response to the concerns raised.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that there was an ongoing investigation by the Met Police and Waltham Forest Council

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