Anger as family centre shuts without warning

Tahira Raqeeb and son Tohir. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Tahira Raqeeb and son Tohir. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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FURIOUS parents have slammed city bosses over an administrative bungle which saw a family centre closed “without warning” and children moved to “unsuitable” accommodation nearby.

Bewildered mums and dads at Castlebrae Community High family centre said they were outraged by the development, which came after council leaders failed to register it with the Care Inspectorate.

Inspectorate rules state that any centre open for more than two hours a day on six or more days of the year must be fully registered.

Families have now been moved to Greendykes Early Years Centre while registration is obtained.

Parents view the episode as particularly ludicrous since
evidence of the centre’s high use emerged during a consultation to close Castlebrae Community High in late 2012 – and despite the facility being open to increasing numbers of families for years.

Mother of three Tahira Raqeeb, 35, who goes to the centre with her two-year-old son, Tohir, said: “The closure was just sprung on us.

“There are some of the parent users who will not use Greendykes, so at this moment and for the near future they have nowhere to go with their young children.

“When there was talk about closing the school and it became apparent that it might be required, registration could have been done then, or over the summer holidays.”

The family centre offers drop-in sessions and creche facilities to parents who attend community classes at the school.

Leaders at Castlebrae Community High parent council voiced concern after confirming they had received complaints from a number of residents about the situation.

Chairwoman Honor Flynn said: “Some of the parents who previously used the family centre in Castlebrae now have nowhere to go as they are unwilling to use the Greendykes Early Years Centre.

“There is apparently no legal reason for the family centre to be registered with the Care Inspectorate. I have to wonder why the relocation took place without consultation and with such speed.”

She went on: “When the decision was taken to save the school it was in its entirety and not to have the family centre in another building. Even if they say it’s temporary, it’s just not acceptable.”

Council leaders apologised for the confusion and inconvenience caused, but insisted the centre could not operate without registration.

A spokesman said: “As this is only a short-term measure we have offered families the facilities at Greendykes Early Years Centre until the registration process is complete.

“We hope to have the creche back up and running next month and apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure. We are
carrying out an investigation into why the creche wasn’t registered.”

A spokeswoman for the Care Inspectorate said: “We are working with the City of Edinburgh Council to register a care service which will operate at Castlebrae High School.”