Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Save the Key Centre – campaigners call for a stop to cutting family services

Story posted on

COUNCILLORS are in support of a campaign to save The Key Centre in Frome from the threat of closure after Somerset County Council announced funding cuts to children’s services. 

Cllr Adam Boyden said, “We are extremely concerned about the future of The Key Centre, in the Mount area, which is Frome’s last remaining children’s centre. This hosts Getset support services, activities and support groups for local children, parents and young people and it is under threat.

“Austerity is not over. In the last month, Somerset County Council suddenly without warning cut funding for the Getset service as part of their ‘in year’ budget cuts. Staff have also left due to job insecurity. Why? County’s budget is in crisis, after a six-year Council Tax freeze and continued cuts in Government funding. We understand that a few months ago there were five or six family support workers at the Key Centre, and now we are left with one part-time. Some services and groups have totally stopped.

“The county’s new ‘consultation’ on the proposed changes to family support services proposes to remove the ‘additional needs’ (Getset Level 2) service entirely. This will mean no Key Centre staff will be left next year – none. Well-attended parenting support and play sessions will stop. Families who need additional help with parenting problems will not get extra one-to-one support from Getset before interventions for significant complex needs (Level 3) are triggered, and will be left to cope alone. No-one knows what the county council has in mind for the future of the Key Centre. We cannot stand by and let this go unchallenged.

“The support provided at the Key Centre saves families from crisis, and helps them lead better lives. It actually saves public money in the long term. How? By helping avoid expensive multi agency interventions. Cuts here are simply counterproductive, driven by balance sheets not people’s needs, just like Somerset’s cuts to Citizens Advice funding. Professional family support staff cannot be replaced by volunteers.

“But this is Frome. The Key Centre is worth fighting for, our local families deserve everyone’s support. We have had an initial emergency meeting and are launching a campaign to call for immediate help.

“We are demanding that Somerset County Council stops cutting vital funding, and stops ignoring the community. We demand they start to work with other councils, the MCA community association and other qualified organisations on a plan to continue the family support work based at the Key Centre. Somerset’s leadership must come to Frome to listen to families who have been saved by the Key Centre, and hear the consequences of their actions.

“We need as many people as possible to object to County’s proposal to abolish services for children and families with additional needs, at www.somersetconsults.org.uk/consult.ti/Getset/consultationHome.

“We have launched a petition at https://www.change.org/p/somerset-county-council-save-the-key-children-s-centre-frome and we need as many people to sign this as possible, and we need people to help gather signatures.

“We know objections and petitions will not be enough, so we are asking for help to find solutions, from Frome Town Council, Mendip District Council, our current MP and any other organisation or charity that can help. We want to work out how we can save and secure the Key Centre and the services it provides for the community. We need to hear from anyone who can help.

“We will be calling a campaign meeting in early December. Please get involved by contacting the campaign at SaveTheKeyCentre@gmail.com or 07809 284817 or responding on social media.

Supported by: Chloe Newport, Scott Ward and Sue Everett (the MCA – Friends of the Mount, Marston and Keyford); District Councillors Adam Boyden (Lib Dem parliamentary candidate), Damon Hooton, Claire Hudson and Alvin Horsfall, Drew Gardner and Richard Pinnock (Lib Dems); County Cllrs Martin Dimery and John Clarke, District Cllrs Shane Collins and Des Harris, and Helen Kay (Green Party);Frome Town Councillors Kate Bielby, Pippa Goldfinger and Heather Wride (IFF);Dave Clarke (Chair of Somerton & Frome Labour Party); District Cllr Helen Sprawson-White; and Dr Bevis Miller (Mendip Trades Union Council)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *