Monday, 5 December 2011

East Reading after school club threatened with closure

Due to government cuts the Council is considering shutting the East Reading after-school club if the number of children attending cannot be raised. Following pressure from me a parents' consultation meeting was held this evening.

The club is based at Newtown school. The average daily attendance at the club over the last year is approximately nine children. The council says that for the club to break even it needs over 32 children.

The total cost of the whole club is £49,300. Fee income for the whole year is £12,920. The overall predicted cost to the Council for the coming year is £36,380.

Because of the cuts imposed by the Conservative led government the Council has to make millions of pounds worth of savings again this year and closing the club has been identified as a way to save money.

The Council have tried a number of new initiatives to raise numbers including street dance and drama.

Following a constituent alerting me to the fact that the club was in danger I asked for a meeting so that parents could ask questions and the basis for saving the club could be established.

The meeting was well attended and parents spoke passionately about what the club means to them and their children and why it is so important to keep it running.

At the meeting parents were frustrated that the Council hadn't marketed the club more effectively. Going forwards, the Council and parents will be looking at what can be done to promote the club to increase numbers to a more sustainable level. This will undoubtedly be a challenge, but the fact that parents used up a precious evening to come to the meeting gives me hope that together we can win this one.

If there are any parents in the East Reading area that need an after-school club I would recommend giving East Reading after-school club a call on 0118 9015686 to find out more.

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