AN under-threat parent and toddler group has been saved after a benefactor stumped up a cash lifeline.
Wrexham-based care home and nursing home developer Castlemead has provided the cash after reading about the Caia Park group’s plight in the Leader last month.
The parent and toddler group, based at The Venture, had applied for £8,000 funding for the next year at last month’s Caia Park Community Council meeting.
But following a heated debate the request was rejected.
The group, which started a year ago, was given the same funding last year by the council and provides about 50 adults and their children with somewhere to socialise and pick up skills such as cooking and sewing, as well as obtaining advice.
But after reading about an appeal for funding in the Leader, Castlemead’s development director, Joe O’Donnell, said the company – based on Wrexham Industrial Estate – would provide an immediate cash injection of £2,000 to save the group. He pledged to raise the other £6,000, through company contractors.
Castlemead – which is financing a new multi-million pound health centre for Caia Park – confirmed the money was to be donated after hearing of the group’s plight.
Chairman of the Venture, Cllr Malcolm King, said: “The decision from the community council to end funding for the Venture left a devastating hole and all the parents at the group were very upset. Indeed, tears were shed.
“However, following the Leader article, Castlemead contacted us two days later and offered to help by providing the cash to keep the group going. It is hard to describe how overjoyed we all are to secure funding for a group which we believe is a real lifeline for families.”
Chairman of Castlemead Group, Allan Jones, said: “We are pleased to help this service for the youngest members of the local community to keep going and to help local people retain their jobs in Caia Park.”
Wrexham MP Ian Lucas slammed the community council for not providing the funding themselves.
“Caia Park Community Council’s latest figures show they have £270,000 in reserves, yet they can’t find £8,000 to help a local community group which has proved very successful in its first year,” he said.
“It is excellent news the group has been saved and I would like to express gratitude to Castlemead for stepping in, as I am sure their donation will be much appreciated by the members of the group.
“However, this was an ill-advised decision by the community council and I would ask them why they were unwilling to support the group, especially with the cash reserves they currently have.”
Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths was critical of the original decision, saying: “Constituents have contacted me since Caia Park Community Council made their unfortunate and ill-advised decision, but I am delighted Castlemead has provided the finance for the parent and toddler group to continue.
“The service provided invaluable support, advice and opportunities for parents in the area. As a patron of the Venture, I was critical of Caia Park Community Council’s original unfortunate decision to cut their funding.
“Castlemead’s commitment to Caia Park is commendable. The company is constructing the new multi-million pound health centre and it is also pleasing to see a major firm investing in the local community by supporting the parent and toddler group.”
Queensway community councillor Carrie Harper welcomed the news and defended the position of the community council over the issue of funding.
“I am delighted to hear the group has been handed a cash injection and it is no doubt helpful to us as a community council when local businesses step in and help out groups such as this,” she said.
“It is unfortunate we were unable to provide the parent and toddler group with their funding for this year but it would have meant giving away 60 per cent of our grant budget for 2014-15, and we have to think about all the wards which fall under the Caia Park umbrella. It’s not as easy as giving away reserves.
“Sadly we were not in a position to support the group due to the pressure our budget is under but it is good news they have been saved.”