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Worcester Community Action Council launching early-education program

December 5, 2018
A rendering of a planned new early education program in Webster by the Worcester Community Action Council.

The education and social services agency Worcester Community Action Council has received a $1 million state loan to launch an early education program in Webster.

The Worcester Community Action Council has signed a 25-year lease with the Town of Webster to occupy a 8,400-square-foot building at 116 School St. once serving as an elementary school and more recently as a senior center.

The Head Start program will begin serving income-eligible families from Webster before expanding to include more than 70 children from Dudley, Oxford and Southbridge as well.

The Worcester Community Action Council previously had an early-education program in Oxford until it was forced in February 2016 to stop the program after a winter storm compromised the building's structure.

The loan from the state agency MassDevelopment was announced Wednesday. The council has also received $1.7 million in federal and state grants for building renovations and has raised more than $500,000 in capital campaign contributions for the project.

The council is the Worcester area's designated anti-poverty agency, with programs on fuel and food assistance, youth summer employment and child care services. It serves more than 75,000 clients annually.