Re­prieve Ex­tra time for care cen­tre fac­ing axe

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Robin JENK­INS robin.jenk­[email protected]­plc.com

PAR­ENTS of chil­dren at­tend­ing a respite cen­tre near Chel­tenham that was due to close have man­aged to keep it open for now.

Trustees vis­ited Hop, Skip & Jump Cotswold at Seven Springs on Satur­day on what was due to be its fi­nal day be­fore per­ma­nent clo­sure.

They had said there was not enough money to keep the cen­tre, which cares for chil­dren with ad­di­tional needs, open.

Bosses of the 37-year-old fa­cil­ity blamed Glouces­ter­shire County Coun­cil for not giv­ing it enough fi­nan­cial sup­port but the author­ity de­nied this had been the case.

On Satur­day, par­ents gath­ered at the site and met trustees.

The trustees then made an an­nounce­ment that the site would stay open un­til at least the end of Oc­to­ber.

The cen­tre said, on its Face­book page: “This will al­low us time to try and source the ad­di­tional fund­ing re­quired. The trustees will then make a de­ci­sion on the fu­ture of the cen­tre.

“We apol­o­gise most sin­cerely for the con­fu­sion sur­round­ing this, and ask you to bear with us as we are de­ter­mined to get a pos­i­tive out­come.

“Please sup­port us – we are open for busi­ness un­til fur­ther no­tice, so con­tact the cen­tre if we can be of any help.”

Cen­tre man­ager He­len Musto said af­ter hear­ing the news: “It’s be­yond our wildest dreams.”

She said the pub­lic cam­paign by par­ents to keep the cen­tre open had had a “very big in­flu­ence” on the trustees’ de­ci­sion.

She added: “I don’t think they re­alised how much their ser­vice was needed.

“So we’re try­ing to drum up a lot more busi­ness.

“We need more chil­dren through our doors. Use it or lose it, that’s the mes­sage.”

Gavin Crilly, who lives in Stroud and sends his 14-year-old autis­tic son Jen­son to the cen­tre, said: “The news is re­ally good. It came as a real sur­prise.

“Be­tween now and the end of Oc­to­ber, we have to in­crease aware­ness of the cen­tre and try and get more peo­ple in.”

He added that par­ents planned to start more fundrais­ing cam­paigns and re­vi­talise the cen­tre’s web­site.

This will al­low us time to try and source the ad­di­tional fund­ing re­quired Hop, Skip & Jump Cen­tre

Fam­i­lies have been cam­paign­ing to keep Hop, Skip & Jump open

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