Newport hub services scaled down
12:01pm Saturday 14th September 2013 in Gwent news
PARENTS criticised education chiefs after it emerged a community hub hit by cutbacks ran with scaled down services this autumn.
They deplored the loss of a cafe and mother and baby group at Forest Children’s Centre at the Duffryn Infant and Junior school complex in Partridge Way, Newport.
Campaigners collected more than 100 signatures in February in a bid to safeguard services at the centre, which opened thanks to a £500,000 Lottery grant.
But the hub was forced to scrap some of its community provision in the Spring after a Cymorth grant, which provides housing related support, homelessness and care services ended.
Council chiefs explored all options to continue providing all the services but parents said they were left with a void as children returned to school last week.
Mum-of-two Mary Jones, 37, of Chaffinch Way, Duffryn, said: “We were told someone may take over with a view to keeping the services.
“I appreciate everyone has got to save money but it’s such a disadvantaged area. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
“The area has been identified as under privileged, it’s absolutely awful.”
The cafe is no longer running and community group meetings are understood to have stopped, though the centre remains open with a nursery, job club on Wednesdays and other activities.
Another mum Leanne Allcoat, 28, of Jamaica Circle, Duffryn, added: “There is no mum and baby group on Thursdays.
“It’s a good place to meet, especially for new mums. This is how I met my new circle of friends when I moved in three years ago. It seems like a waste.”
Newport City Council stressed that Forest Children’s Centre had remained open and services continued to be provided to the community.
A council spokeswoman said: “Working in partnership with other agencies the range of services continue to be delivered at the Forest Children’s Centre in Duffryn.
“The funding for the running of the centre came from a Cymorth grant, which has now ceased resulting in the council utilising a variety of resources to continue to run the centre.
“Newport City Council and Duffryn Community Link are working together to ensure the delivery of services at the integrated children’s centre continues.”
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