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Cherubs Early Childhood Centre desperately needs permanent home

Published:Monday | December 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Marva Spencer, principal of the Cherubs Early Childhood Centre in St Andrew, along with more than 40 children who attend the institution, are in desperate need of a place to continue their educational pursuit, as they have been given notice to leave by the end of this month.

After many years at its current location, the premises, located off Red Hills Road, has been sold and the new owners will be moving in very soon. Spencer, who established the Centre, noted that she was always told by the previous owner that she would be given first preference on the sale of the property. With this promise and her long relationship with the previous owner, she and the parents built a wall and made certain improvements to the property for the security of the children. Members of the Kiwanis Club of New Kingston also assisted in building and furbishing a classroom, in addition to other expansion projects.

Spencer said the recent development has come with a lot of worry and was a surprise.

'It's the first time I have been having such a challenge for the more than 40 years. We have never got the chance to purchase a place around here because the titles for most of them are tied up," she said.

"We thought that they were going to give us first priority when they were selling. For all the years, we thought that they would have a little compassion because students excel from here. However, they came in all of a sudden and collected the rent and informed us that the place is sold and that we had to move," she told The Gleaner.

She said the process has been compounded by the fact that they have to be cautious of the areas in which they take the children, in addition to the exorbitant amount of money that they will have to pay for rent for the ones they have seen thus far.

"It's not been going too well because there are a lot of places around here, but the titles have been tied up or some of them are very expensive. If we can get somewhere for $80,000 a month, we will go with that. We just don't want to go and throw the kids in just any area," she said.

"We don't want to fight anybody for the land, but we let them know that we still have a loan on the wall, and we need to have a little time to clear it with those people."

The school was established by Spencer in 1978 - 38 years ago. More than 5,000 students in the Red Hills and surrounding communities have been educated at the school. Cherubs is a feeder school for St Richard's Primary, where the students go on to distinguish themselves academically. Cherubs takes part in academic and sporting events put on by the Ministry of Education and corporate Jamaica for basic schools, and participates in the KCNK's Little Bee spelling competition. In addition, the centre has won numerous gold, silver and bronze medals in the annual Festival competitions.