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Lib Dem Councillor calls on West Berks Council to support Short Breaks Programme

December 9, 2016 5:23 PM
Cllr Lee Dillon: project will deliver for our young people

Cllr Lee Dillon

LibDem Cllr Lee Dillon calls on West Berks Council to commit to transitional funding to the Short Breaks Programme (as given at last night's meeting)

"This is a simple motion calling on the Council to publically commit to awarding £170k of transitional funding to the Short Breaks programme for the 17/18 financial year.

This is not new money to find but can easily be met from £1.37m that the government has already awarded to the Council for transitional funding, as noted by our Section 151 Officer.

The Executive may already be so minded to grant transitional funding again to such an important programme but may also be happy to wait until the last minute to let them know.

However I believe there are important benefits of making an early decision:

The ability for them to retain staff is the most pressing - without certainty of a job beyond 31st March next year it is very hard to retain staff

Once staff have left it is impossible to recruit new staff to a role that only has a couple of months to go

The consequence of that is that programmes have to cut the number of children they take at their clubs as they don't have the staff to provide the support

The security of some funding also gives them the ability to fund raise further for other services and activities because they know they have at least some service to build on.

They can even use the existing funding as matched funding for grants elsewhere - Helping our communities to help themselves!

If a decisions is delayed more money will be wasted on recruitment and training of new staff than if they had been able to retain the existing staff by knowing now that they will be getting transitional funding.

Only a few weeks ago the Executive agreed to accept the governments four year funding settlement and one of the main arguments that was supported by us all was that at least it gave us security and the ability to plan. Let us offer our short break providers that same chance to be able to plan ahead.

Mr Chairman apart from the practical points I have just raised the other important consideration is for the parent and children who find the current situation very stressful with uncertainty of services.

I urge the Executive when they consider this next week to continue to support the Short Breaks Programme make an early decision on what is nearly a statutory and give the affected families and groups an early Christmas present."

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