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Cash lifeline hope dashed for Keighley Parents Advice Centre
Last-minute hopes of a cash lifeline for Parents Advice Centre Keighley have been dashed.
A Bradford Council chief this week said no money would be provided to save the community centre from closure next month.
Coun Ralph Berry spoke as the local authority prepared to make millions of pounds of cuts to its own budget on February 28.
Coun Berry, the member responsible for children’s services, was responding to a final appeal for help from advice centre manager, John Toothill.
Mr Toothill told the Keighley News some councillors were working behind-the-scenes to find money pots that could be used to keep the centre open. He has 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.
PACK was given more than £100,000 in April 2011 to cover set-up and running costs until spring 2014.
Mr Toothill this week confirmed the council money 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 passionately committed to serving local families.
He added: “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.”
Coun 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, whose Keighley Central ward includes PACK’s office, said if money could be found, then PACK should carry on. He added: “They’re doing a good job and are very good for the community.”