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Local Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) charity is set to take-on the former PARC premises in Great Notley

07 June 2024
Happy Hill Leaders in purple uniforms, outside the premises are smiling. •	Photograph from left to right: John Hill, Janine Waite (Operations Manager at Happy Hill Essex CIO), Heather Hill (Founder and Trustee at Happy Hill Essex CIO) and Jessica Hill.

Essex County Council and Braintree District Council are celebrating the news that SEND charity Happy Hill Essex CIO is moving into the play and recreational premises in Great Notley.

As Happy Hill Essex CIO is part of the Send Sensation CIC (Community Interest Company) partnership, the organisations within the SEND Sensation will have the opportunity to use the building as well.


The charity, together with the Send Sensation, will offer short breaks to carers and families of children and young adults up to the age of 25 with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). The support will take the form of after school and holiday clubs as well as weekend clubs and activities.


The play and recreational facilities at the premises include a sensory room, special play equipment and a games room. The environment provides a fun and stimulating place for children and young people with SEND to try new experiences, have fun, socialise and learn.


Essex County Council, as the statutory authority responsible for the commissioning of children’s services, is taking on the lease and will sublet the premises in its entirety to Happy Hill Essex CIO, the SEND charity. Braintree District Council, as landlord, will retain ownership of the property.


Heather Hill, founder of Happy Hill Essex CIO and a mother of two young adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), expressed her excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to offer the community a supportive space. She stated: "We are thrilled and deeply grateful for the chance to provide the community with a dedicated space that caters to the diverse needs of the wider special needs community. It's important to emphasise that the spirit of PARC will not be forgotten; it remains a crucial part of what Happy Hill Essex CIO does. This opportunity allows us to extend our support and make a positive impact on the lives of those facing similar challenges. We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone once the schools break for summer.”


A spokesperson at Braintree District Council said: “Since taking the property on from PARC Essex when the doors closed two years ago, we have been working tirelessly to take control of the building and bring it back to use. We have worked closely and in partnership with our colleagues at Essex County Council in bringing this community asset back into operational use and we’re delighted with the result because we know how important this facility is and the service it provides are to families and young people with special and additional needs. We hope Happy Hill Essex CIO and the children and young people it serves enjoy their new home and we wish them every success for the future.”


Braintree District Council took possession of the premises, formerly home to children’s charity PARC Essex, after its trustees surrendered the lease nine months ago. The charity closed suddenly in 2022 when it went into financial difficulties.


Happy Hill will open its doors to families once the schools break for summer. Families wanting to access Short Breaks provision at the premises in Great Notley can visit for the details.