MP opens new children's home
Opening the first family unit home for Retarded Children, at “Peter Pan House” , Leicester Road, New Barnet, on Tuesday afternoon, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher said it was a tremendous development that the nation were trying to treat handicapped children as part of the community.
She said there were many causes which got a great deal of support, but very rarely did people come forward to help the mentally handicapped. It was only when they came up against a handicapped person they knew that they appreciated the work being done for them.
Mrs. Thatcher said she had particular affection for the cause, because when she was elected to the parliamentary division of Finchley one of the first letters she received was from Mrs. and Mrs. Jones, founders of the Retarded Children's Aid Society, appealing for support.
Commenting on the junior training centre opened recently in Friern Barnet, she said the need for places was increasing. At the end of 1960, when the last figures were given, there were still 2,000 children who had applied to centres where there were no places. Centres such as “Peter Pan House” acted as a home for the children when they returned from training centres.
Lost working days
Mrs. Thatcher said that the second worst illness in the country for loss of working days was mental illness. The surprising thing was the extent of the mental health problem.
Before making a tour of the home with the Mayor of Finchley, Cr. F. D. Gibson, and several guests, Mrs. Thatcher thanked the Retarded Children's Aid Society for the wonderful work they were doing.