Redundancy threat as Councillor’s hold axe over childcare club

Councillors will decide on Wednesday the fate of Moray’s only council-funded childcare club after two committees have failed to agree on future funding.

The Forres out of School Club looked set for closure until a recent meeting of the children’s and young persons committee voted to continue funding despite it recording losses of £16,000.

Councillors at that meeting cited the knock-on effect closure would have on working parents who would likely have to give up their jobs.

However, a meeting of the policy and resources committee failed to back that decision and voted for the withdrawal of funding – leaving the matter in the hands of Wednesday’s Full Council to decide its fate.

The club, which has operated for 21 years from Forres House Community Centre, came close to closure two years ago but was reprieved in the hope that the arrival of the Army at Kinloss Barracks would reverse the £10,000 annual losses being incurred at that time.

However, a report to the Council for this weeks meeting highlights losses have now risen to £16,000. Heldon & Laich councillor Eric McGillivray insists that the decision on closure is now long overdue: “Forres is the only place in Moray with something like this.

“Other towns do not have a similar facility and I think it is unfair that we should continue to spend taxpayers’ money by choosing to subsidise it.

“The club has been losing money for several years now – given the present financial constraints the council is under I believe that enough is enough.”

Councillors will be told that staff at the club have been listed ‘at risk’ of redundancy, with the head of lifelong learning, culture and sport, Graham Jarvis, saying: ” If the Forres House Out of School Club were to close, the staff would remain subject to the Council’s Change Management Policy and procedures.

“Staff are currently being consulted with on the proposals for change. Staff have been placed ‘at risk’ of redundancy and every effort made to find alternative employment within the Council.

“Staff have been engaged with the Council’s ‘Transform’ process which is the approach the Council is using to help manage the internal movement of staff.

“Where this process was not successful, unfortunately these staff could ultimately be made redundant.”

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