Extra year of funds secured for charities

From left, Ian Wilson, Chris Wood, Sophie Lewis, Lucas Horne (child in pram), Juliet Cheriton-Gerard, Genevieve Reeves, Edeve Mullins (child in pram), Alexander Jenkins, Charlotte Buchan-Hepburn, Amber Bernice, Oliver Taplin, Lilly Parker, Hannah Zeffertt, Megan Lever and Rachel Grimshaw at the Fareham Let Us Play scheme last summer
From left, Ian Wilson, Chris Wood, Sophie Lewis, Lucas Horne (child in pram), Juliet Cheriton-Gerard, Genevieve Reeves, Edeve Mullins (child in pram), Alexander Jenkins, Charlotte Buchan-Hepburn, Amber Bernice, Oliver Taplin, Lilly Parker, Hannah Zeffertt, Megan Lever and Rachel Grimshaw at the Fareham Let Us Play scheme last summer
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CHARITIES and organisations that offer respite breaks for disabled children have spoken of their relief at getting an extra year of funding.

Hampshire County Council announced last August that it intended to cut the money it gave to fund services that provided short breaks for families with disabled children.

Many services across the county, including those in Fareham, Gosport and Havant, were to be affected by the cuts.

A petition was launched by the Hampshire Parent Carer Network calling for the council to reconsider and provide them with funding for an extra year to help them prepare.

Nearly 2,000 people signed the petition and a council-run consultation also drew more than 1,250 responses, which were taken into account by the executive lead member for children’s services, Councillor Keith Mans, in his decision, which he will sign off on Wednesday.

Michala Dominey, from the Hampshire Parent Carer Network, said they were relieved but worried about 2017.

County councillor Chris Wood said he was pleased that the council had ‘finally seen sense’.

He said: ‘This will leave the same level of funding for 2015/16 and then it will be looked at again in 2016/17. I’m pleased that we have secured the service it its entirety for another year. It was the right choice.’

The council needs to save £19.3m by April 2016 from its children’s services department due to ongoing reductions in government funding.

But services for children, young people, and their families who are most in need of care and protection have been prioritised by the council in its revenue budget proposals for 2015/16.

Cllr Mans confirmed he would not make any changes to the current form and level of funding for short breaks during 2015/16.

Cllr Mans said: ‘I’m pleased these proposals are being put forward, which will enable us to consider the future of these services in the wider context of the council’s service transformation programme – Transformation to 2017.’