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Disabled children’s charities facing £2m of Hampshire County Council funding cuts

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CHARITIES providing respite for families with disabled children are set to be the victims of the latest wave of cost-cutting at Hampshire County Council.

Scores of charities will see their funding cut as the council looks to shave £1.85 from the £3.2m it sets aside to help provide short break activities for children with disabilities.

The proposal, which went before executive lead member for children’s services councillor Keith Mans but is yet to be signed off as the consultation has been called in for scrutiny, will see changes to how short breaks are provided.

One charity that will lose out is the Let Us Play Scheme in Fareham, which provides daycare for disabled children from two to 19 years old during school holidays. This calendar year it received a £37,000 council grant.

Chairman Ian Wilson warned the cuts could see the charity go back to the ‘dark days’ when it faced a constant battle to fundraise.

Mr Wilson, 42, said: ‘We went through a few years of not knowing if we were going to be able to run a play scheme from day to day. I would not like to go back to those dark days.

‘Short breaks helped us out, as we did not have to go out and fundraise as much. It allowed us to focus on the children and the play scheme.’

Let Us Play Scheme is run by parents and is mainly staffed by volunteers, who look after about 30 children a day.

Juliet Cheriton-Gerard, 40, from Titchfield Common, said the scheme has been a lifeline to her, as her eight-year-old son Xavy attends in the holidays.

She said: ‘It has made such a difference to our lives. If this was taken away we would be under house arrest for those six weeks.’

County councillor Chris Wood visited the charity to see the work it does. He called for the council to put in an additional year of transitional funding as well as providing support if the charity could not reach the amount it needs through fundraising.

He said this would guarantee the same level of service, but at a reduced cost to the council.

Since 2008, the council has made £140m in savings, with children’s services contributing £26m, however another £26m needs to be found from children’s services by 2015.

Cllr Mans said: ‘It is widely agreed that we cannot sustain the current level of funding and at the same time meet our obligation to provide statutory services such as safeguarding – where we are seeing significant growth in the number of children coming into care.

‘We remain committed to doing all that we can to provide as wide a range of choice as possible, to support children with disabilities, within our limited means.’

A meeting will be held in the week commencing Monday, September 8, when the proposal to put the cuts out to a 12-week consultation will be scrutinised.

Cllr Mans is expected to make a decision in January, once he has the consultation results and considered the findings of a select committee.

ORGANISATIONS in The News’ area that received funding from the county council’s short break fund for 2014/15 to provide day care and activities for disabled children.

HAMPSHIRE

- AACT Climbing Hayling Island - £15,000

- Action for Blind People - £6,079

- Wessex Children’s Hospice Trust - £26,150

- The Rose Road Association Bradbury Scheme - £10,000

- The Rainbow Centre - £6,122

- PACEY - £10,000

- SPACE - £12,000

HAVANT/WATERLOOVILLE

- Making Space - £4,112

- Kids Gateway Club - £10,000

- Kids Havant Young People’s Project - £22,310

- Kids Rachel Madocks Extended Services - £75,000

- Starlight ASD Support - £8,502

- Chaos Support - £30,000

- Horizon Leisure Support - £6,960

- Enable Ability (PALS) - £4,269

- Community Childcare Centres - £10,000

- Hawks in the Community - £6,400

- Caterpillar Crafts - £1,065

- Just Jump Trampolining - £1,474

- Glenwood School, Emsworth - £15,000

- Prospect School - £18,316

- Sir George Staunton Country Park - £4,980

- Riverside Community Special School, Waterlooville - £22,000

FAREHAM/GOSPORT

- Sensecere - £10,100

- Let Us Play Scheme - £36,840

- The Rose Road Association - £28,136

- Kids Early Years - £32,000

- Kids Heathfield - £72,300

- Kids St Francis - £50,463

- Kids Youth2Gosport - £28,000

- Just Jump Trampolining - £2,176

- Enable Ability (PALS) - £6,757

- Y Services for Young People - £5,300

- Fareham Autistic Spectrum Support - £7,000

- Everyone Active - £10,000

- Woodpeckers Childcare - £11,000

EAST HAMPSHIRE

- Caterpillar Crafts - £4,278

- Disability Challengers - £79,368

- The Oaks Playscheme - £13,300

- The King’s Arms Youth Project - £15,000

- Kids - £20,000

- Youth Options - £3,800

 

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