Losses of over £37,000 force closure of childcare service

Moray’s only council-funded out of school club is to close after running up losses totalling more than £37,000.

Councillors voted this morning by 14 to five to end their subsidy of the Forres out of School Club – but agreed that the local authority would offer help and guidance to any organisation that wished to take over the childcare service.  However, there is some doubt over if there is a future for the club which has been run from the Forres House Community Centre for 21 years.

Moray Council will now seek to find alternative jobs with the local authority structure but that may not save at least some members of staff from redundancy.

Local SNP Councillor Aaron McLean had argued for retaining a budget allocation on the basis that closure for the club could force parents who have their children there to give up their own jobs.

Councillor McLean today expressed his disappointment at the decision to withdraw funding: “Obviously it is disappointing that the axe has fallen on the Out of School club after many years of debate within the council.

“This should really have been sorted out long before now and this once profit making organization has been allowed to stagnate and turn into the drain on council funds it has become.

“However, with the new legislation being introduced by Scottish Government to increase nursery provision from 450 to 600 hours in August and the lack of other providers in Forres, I believe the opportunity was there to restore the club to its former glory.

“Economic development is supposed to be the main priority of this council, yet here we are potentially causing people to give up their jobs due to a lack of childcare facilities and at the very least placing barriers in their way.

“I do however thank my colleague Cllr Coull for making sure that the council will at least provide every possible help it can for any group or individual who looks into replacing the club.”

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