Daventry youth club for disabled children set to close due to council funding cuts

Daventry's Phoenix Centre
Daventry's Phoenix Centre

A Saturday club that provides parents of disabled children in Daventry precious few hours respite each week is to be axed as part of service cuts.

Guideposts offers activity sessions for people of all ages with learning difficulties, physical disabilities, diabetes, brain injuries, dementia and more.

It runs youth clubs in Daventry, Northampton and Brackley for 12- to 25-year-olds as well as Saturday sessions featuring messy play , music and sensory toys for younger children plus holiday clubs.

But as of April 1 they will all stop.

The Saturday and holiday clubs are funded by Northamptonshire County Council, but now that funding will cease.

In Daventry the six hour Saturday club is held at the Phoenix Youth Centre every week.

Guideposts says the termination of the contract has impacted on its “ability to run safe and well managed services,” and has chosen to shut the youth club it runs in Daventry on Mondays, as well as the others it runs as well.

Joanne Spencer of Bugbrooke takes her 10-year-old daughter Jemma, who has Down’s Syndrome, one of the Saturday clubs.

She quit her job as a fraud investigator to look after her daughter full time and suffers from fibromyalgia herself.

She said; “It is so important for our families to have that little bit of respite each week, I can’t stress how important that is. Where are we meant to go now? It makes you wonder what we pay our council tax for.”

Director of fundraising and communications at Guideposts Ian Cumming, said the cut in council funding left the charity without a service manager for Northamptonshire.

He said: “Guideposts was recently notified by NCC that they had reluctantly taken the decision to end our contract for delivery of the Saturday and holiday clubs in Northants.

“Sadly, the loss of the Saturday and holiday club contracts means that we lost funding for several staff and, crucially, a service manager role within the county.

“Unfortunately, this has impacted on our ability to continue to provide safe and well managed youth groups in the county.

“It was therefore with considerable regret that we informed Northamptonshire County Council we would have to end our provision of these service, on the same day which the Saturday and holiday club contract ends – 31 March 2016.”

Northamptonshire County Council says it is possible another service provider could step in to take on the youth clubs stopped by Guideposts.

A spokesman said: “Guideposts has informed us it will be ceasing the five clubs it is commissioned to run by the county council, despite us withdrawing funding for only one of the clubs.

“The funding for the clubs remains in place and we are keen to continue to provide these services for children and families, so are actively seeking to identify new providers to step in for the new financial year.”