‘Use Government money to save Ilkley children’s centre’

Ilkley Gazette: Mums who have started a campaign to save Ilkley Children’s Centre. Mums who have started a campaign to save Ilkley Children’s Centre.

An Ilkley councillor has joined the town’s MP in calling for Bradford Council to use new Government money to protect Little Lane Children’s Centre and youth services.

Housing Minister and local Conservative MP Kris Hopkins recently announced the release of almost £20 million of grant funding to Bradford Council through the New Homes Bonus which rewards local authorities for helping to deliver housing.

Ilkley Conservative Councillor Martin Smith said he believed some of this money should be used to protect local services for children and young people in Ilkley.

“As youth services are mistakenly proposed to be cut by around 80 per cent over three years in Bradford, this Government funding gives the Council the opportunity of protecting these very valued services in our community,” he said.

“We should support our young people through education as well as vocational activities, which help to develop self worth, reduce the likelihood of them becoming involved in anti-social activities and assist with access to future work training and hence housing needs.

“As a district councillor for Ilkley on Bradford Council and someone particularly interested in youth services in our town and across the district, I believe we should use of some of this new funding to balance the youth budget across Bradford district.

“It will also assist with small-scale alterations or upgrades to youth property and should include the development of a winter covered facility for basketball, five-a-side football and other sports at Ilkley Youth Club.

“I intend to put this proposal forward for discussion at the next full meeting of Bradford Council and will include a request that Ilkley Children’s Centre, which is also under threat, stays open.”

Mr Hopkins added: “I have already been contacted by a number of parents who are understandably concerned about the threat to Ilkley Children’s Centre, and a proportion of this funding should certainly be used to remove that threat.”

Little Lane Children’s Centre in Ilkley is one of seven under threat of closure because of a proposed budget reduction of £2.4m by 2016. Local parents have mounted a campaign, Save Ilkley’s Little Lane Children’s Centre and are calling on people in the town join their Facebook group and sign petitions against the closure, which are available at Booth’s Kiosk, Ilkley Moor Medical Centre and Smooth Cafe until January 10.

People can also attend public consultation events to voice their objections. The events are on Thursday, January 9, from 1pm to 4pm at Keighley Library Annexe, Spencer Road, Keighley, and on January 10 from 1pm to 2.30pm at Shipley Town Hall.


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