A PARENT and toddler group will close after it was denied funding for the next year leaving organisers devastated.
The group based at The Venture in Caia Park had applied for £8,000 worth of funding for the next year from the Caia Park Community Council, but following a heated debated the request was rejected.
The parent and toddler group, which was started a year ago, was given the same funding last year by the council and the people who run it say it has gone from strength to strength since then.
The group provides about 50 adults and their children somewhere to socialise and pick up skills such as cooking and sewing, as well as obtaining advice.
In the application for funding, the early years centre manager at The Venture, Karen Davies, said: “A high proportion of families we support experience social isolation, depression and lack confidence. Many of these families often ask for advice and guidance on a number of issues affecting their lives which may include; their child’s challenging behaviour, relationship difficulties, debt, housing issues and domestic abuse.
“We provide opportunities for parents to access confidence building activities, which in turn will help promote self-esteem, self-confidence and improve overall wellbeing.”
At the meeting Cllr Brian Pritchard said: “It is the wrong time of the year. If this was February and we had £10,000 left over then I would throw the money at it. But it is April, the start of the financial year and how could we give 65 per cent of the grant budget up?”
Cllr Carrie Harper said: “I won’t be able to support this, we don’t know what else is coming up in the next year which might need our financial support.”
Cllr Keith Gregory blamed the extra pressure put on the community council by Wrexham Council after they had to adjust the budget to cover the cost or running playgrounds and school crossing patrols.
The grant budget for the community council is £15,000, but council clerk Michael Morris reminded councillors the reserves could be used if needed.
Cllr Colin Powell said: “Community councils are here to support the people in the community.
“Yes things are tight but we have enough money in the budget to do this.
“We are going to be making misery for lots and lots of people.”
Cllr Brian Halley said: “It seems a lot of money in one go but it is a low weekly amount of just £160 for the amount of people it helps.”
Councillors took a vote which was seven to five in favour of declining the application with one abstention.
Malcolm King, founder of The Venture, said: “We now don’t have any other funding and we don’t have the resources to carry on so the group will have to close pretty much immediately. I’m worried about the devastating effect this will have on all the people who use this group.
“It saves a lot of parents lives who say they would not have known what they would do if the group wasn’t there.”
Caia Community councillors also voted unanimously on the night to give £2,000 to the Caia Park Early Years Forum to help fund a trip to the zoo for around 200 adults and their children.