TODAY we write to Health Minister Edwina Hart, urging her to support the Argus Sparkle Appeal to fund a dedicated childrens' centre in Newport.

This vital facility would transform the treatment of more than 1,200 youngsters in Gwent, giving them the much-needed purpose built centre they so desperately need.

Dear Minister,

We are calling on you to back our calls for Assembly funding for the South Gwent Children's Centre. And we have more than 2,000 of our readers right behind us.

Since we started lobbying for the capital investment board to approve Gwent Healthcare Trust's bid for £5.9 million of funding, we have been inundated with pledges of support.

Support has come from the health sector, from your own colleagues in the Assembly administration, from our local AMs and from across the political spectrum.

But more importantly support has come from more than 2,000 of our readers who have taken the time to sign a letter to you or who have signed a petition, urging your support for this vital centre.

If your committee agrees to to fund this bid then thousands of disabled children now and in the future will benefit.

Children like Jonathan Jones, aged seven, from Newport who has cerebral palsy; Ayesha Khan, aged 11, also from Newport whose spina bifida confines her to a wheelchair and Myleisha Hussain, aged two, whose fighting spirit has amazed her parents and her doctors, but whose disabilities as a result of life-threatening illness means she requires specialist therapies daily.

Myleisha, who is also fighting leukaemia receives expert help from dedicated therapists at Newport's Eveswell Clinic, a building that an unbelievable 16 years ago was recognised as inadequate for the job it is still doing.

This means a generation of disabled children have travelled to inappropriate facilities in inaccessible locations for the therapies they need to simply live their lives.

We are calling on you to provide the funding which would change that forever.

The South Gwent Children's Centre would provide all the therapies such children need under one roof in a building designed for them.

It would be a trailblazing development for Newport and, in fact, for the whole of Wales.

It would be a centre of excellence in the proivision of care for disabled children and for the therapists who provide that care.

We urge you and your colleagues to back this vision, otherwise a dream so many have had for so long will not become a reality and that would become a crying shame.

  • We will be sending this letter and the hundreds you, our readers, have signed to Ms Hart ahead of the committee meeting which will decide the fate of the South Gwent Children's Centre.
Centre would help 1,200 disabled youngsters
THE childrens' centre would provide a dedicated facility for the care of more than 1,200 disabled youngsters in Gwent.

It proposes bringing together under one roof all the specialities these children need to help them overcome or cope with a wide range of disabilities - from cerebral palsy to visual hearing and speech difficulties, arthritis and respiratory problems.

When finished the three-storey centre would boast a hydrotherapy pool, 85 seat conference facility/medicinema/flexible space, assessment nursery and kitchen, IT library, consultation rooms, therapy rooms, dark/light therapy rooms and office accommodation for 90 people.

It would minimise the need for parents or carers to take youngsters to appointments at several different buildings.

If you can help the appeal, contact Sparkle on 01633 656212, or via the links below.

  • You can still add your support to the campaign by downloading the letter.