A BRAND new centre in Ardrossan is the first of its kind in North Ayrshire - offering flexible childcare support for those with Additional Support Needs.

Ko-Nekt, based in Park Road, will bring true flexible support to all, every day of the week lowering family’s anxieties as they can access support at times when crisis situations may be immanent. The centre will offer access to four zones, a kitchen, IT and tech, outside and indoor play as well as a sensory space and these are all designed to develop new skills whilst playing and interacting with true friends. Late night weekend respite will be offered to allow parents and carers to go out and relax.

The brainchild of Marianne and Peter Greenaway of Ayrshire Children's Services, the centre has been kitted out by young people and service users and will be open from March 26 for a 'sneaky peek week' and potential users can visit from 10am until 7pm each day that week, which coincides with Autism Awareness Week.

Marianne told the Herald: "The new extension to our current servicewill offer support seven days, 52 weeks per year. Helping children to gain lifelong skills which they will take into adulthood.

"Our new 'skills and play' centre is due to open in March. The centre will take an inclusive approach, allowing children to pick and choose when they come to the centre and what they do when they get there. Free play activities as well as groups and friend’s activities will be facilitated, giving true choice and control back to the children. They will start to shape their own support and use their SDS budgets innovatively and flexibly."

The centre will be managed by the Ko-Nekt centre manager and team leader with a staff base of four full-time and three part-time staff, 10 sessional support workers, one activity coordinator and one administrator. The centre manager will report to ACS board of directors and included in the team will be four modern apprentices and student placements.

Scott Webb, regional executive at UK Steel Enterprise who helped fund the outdoor area, said: “Ayrshire Children Services does invaluable work in supporting children with additional support needs across the area, helping them to access activities, and teach important life skills.

“We are proud to be part of their mission to create a place where children can explore, learn and interact with others, and are very much looking forward to seeing the positive impact they make once the centre opens its doors officially.”

For more information, search for Ayrshire Children's Services on Facebook or Twitter, call them on 01294 558123 or pop in and see them.