When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Fears of rise in antisocial behaviour
10:30am Sunday 10th March 2013 in News
CLUBS and play schemes working with thousands of children across Southampton are to be scrapped, sparking fears of a rise in antisocial behaviour.
Southampton Children’s Play Association (SCPA), which runs after-school clubs and summer play schemes, has been forced into “drastic” action after city council chiefs cut its funding by £70,000.
Bosses say the association, which works with up to 3,000 city youngsters, may now struggle to survive. They have laid off up to 16 staff this year.
The association, which is based at the Acorn Enterprise Centre in St Denys, has provided free clubs and play schemes for children aged five and over for the past 39 years. It currently employs up to 50 staff.
SCPA’s play development manager Anna Roberts said that while it will receive £72,211 of funding from the city council for 2013/14, it is not enough to keep all of its services open.
It will have to lay off 15 play worker staff, while schools such as Mansbridge Primary School, St Mary’s Primary School and Heathfield Junior School will now miss out on after-school clubs from April 1 onwards.
One of its office staff members will also lose their job in September unless new funding can be found.
The SCPA will cut the number of play schemes run in the city this summer from 24 to 12, and will now target Southampton’s most deprived areas.
The association is now warning that there may be a rise in antisocial behaviour in certain areas as a result of the cuts.
Ms Roberts said: “We are going to struggle to survive as an organisation over the coming months.
“Being a voluntary organisation we do everything in-house – training play workers, HR, grant finding, staffing recruiting, volunteer recruiting, provide projects, linking with families and children, planning and other things. We have always been stretched providing high quality, Ofsted-registered, play projects and now we will be even more under pressure and overworked while trying to maintain the high standard.”
Southampton City Council cut £56,266 of funding for SCPA for next year. A further £20,000 of income is being lost as the council has torn up a contract for SCPA to provide staff for Thorn-hill Adventure Playground.
Councillor Sarah Bogle, the council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “In effect the comprehensive spending review will remove a third of our funding, and a lot of things will have to change, but we will do our damnedest to protect the most vulnerable in society.”
n The association is appealing for donations. Log on to localgiving.|com/|charity/ scpa.