Reprieve Extra time for care centre facing axe
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