Parents Advice Centre Keighley runs out of funding

The opening of the Parents Advice Centre in Keighley

The opening of the Parents Advice Centre in Keighley

First published in News

Last-minute hopes of a cash lifeline for the Parents Advice Centre Keighley have been dashed.

A Bradford Council chief said no money would be provided to save the community centre from closure next month.

Councillor Ralph Berry spoke as the Labour-run Council prepared to make millions of pounds of cuts to its own budget next Thursday.

Coun Berry, who is responsible for children’s services, was responding to a final appeal for help from advice centre manager John Toothill.

Mr Toothill said councillors were working behind the scenes to find any money sources that could be used to keep the centre open.

He had also gathered 1,000 signatures for a petition expressing support for the Russell Street centre.

Parents Advice Centre Keighley (PACK) provides a range of advice services and training, including parenting, literacy and numeracy, health and IT.

In April 2011, PACK was given more than £100,000 to cover set-up and running costs until spring 2014.

Mr Toothill confirmed the Council funding had already run out, adding: “We’re running on volunteers at the moment. We’ll last until the end of March, if that.”

Coun Berry accepted PACK staff were committed to serving local families, but said the Council funding had been a fixed amount for a specific period.

He said: “I would love to be in a position to fund organisations that do some of the same work as our children’s centres. but we are finding it hard to protect frontline services.

“This is the worst time I’ve ever known in 21 years of funding. There are many good and valued organisations struggling.”

Councillor Glen Miller, leader of the Conservative opposition on Bradford Council, said: “This goes to show the Labour Party does not class PACK as a priority and would rather fund union officials to the tune of £250,000.”

Bradford Councillor Abid Hussain (Lab), whose Keighley Central ward includes PACK’s office, said if money could be found PACK should carry on. He said: “They’re doing a good job and are very good for the community.”

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