A CHARITY that supports children with behavioural difficulties wants to convert and relocate to a derelict Harrow Weald community centre, saving it from demolition.
Kids Can Achieve, based in Pinner Green, Pinner, has made bids for funds that would enable it to take over Cedars Hall in Chicheley Road and expand its services for children with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The building, owned by Harrow Council, was originally earmarked to be torn down and replaced by emergency accommodation for homeless families, until residents mounted a campaign that persuaded councillors to dump the idea.
Weald Residents and Tenants' Association volunteered to revive the hall as a community premises and the council set a deadline of June 30 to submit a business plan.
A Harrow Council spokeswoman said: "Weald Tenants and Residents' Association has until June 30 to supply the council with a proposal and to indicate how they will fund the project.
"The council is providing planning advice, and considering the work the association has already done, the council believes that the June deadline is a realistic and achievable target."
The association made bids for public money but when one of its two applications was refused, Kids Can Achieve stepped into the breach.
Charity founder and centre director Julie Browne has asked for grants and loans from three voluntary sector funding organisations for sums of up to £2million. Harrow Council plans to sell off Cedars Hall for housing if funding is not guaranteed by November, so Kids Can Achieve faces an anxious wait on the money.
Ms Browne said: "If only one came off, we would be OK. We can revamp the existing building and we would need to do a small build. It would include an outdoor play area for children with special needs and we could offer more physical activity. We'll have twice as much space."
Sessions at the premises in Pinner are oversubscribed, but the charity cannot expand due to constraints placed on the capacity by the failings of the building, such as a lack of toilets.
Ms Browne said: "We have a number of children come because they can't cope with a full day in school and we work with parents, offering support, training, therapy and advice."
Kids Can Achieve helps 200 families directly and another 200 through its links with three other charities and has been running for seven years.
For more information visit www.kidscanachieve.co.uk