WESTBURY Area Board agreed to contribute to funding free places for disadvantaged children at a school summer holiday club, but a plea to the town council fell on deaf ears.
At the latest area board meeting of Wiltshire councillors, cllr Sheila Kimmins, town mayor and chair of community group Popcan who are running the club at Westbury Junior School and Westbury Community Project, requested a contribution of £6,250.
This would help fund 10 free places for children who are, for example, having free school dinners, are on the at risk register, come from homes where there is domestic abuse or who are suffering mental health issues as a result of lockdown, cllr Kimmins explained.
“We’ve looked at how we could run a summer club for the local children and I spoke with [Westbury Junior School headteacher] Richard Hatt and he’s arranged for a summer club for children with a company called Tree Tops who do that specifically,” cllr Kimmins explained.
“There are a number of children who can’t afford the £25 a day Tree Tops charge that, should you give this grant, would enable 10 children from difficult backgrounds to have a free place.
“It would help a great deal. To enable them to come out and be with others and play and continue to learn would be of benefit.”
Cllr Matthew Dean pointed out that £6,250 would be 50% of the Westbury Area Board’s entire annual budget and suggested the board could halve that and make a £3,125 contribution.
Cllr Gordon King agreed and said, “This an incredibly worthy application which I wholeheartedly support. There’s a lot of children from the backgrounds described that would benefit from this.”
Area board chair, cllr Suzanne Wickham said, “I echo how valuable this work is. It’s a wonderful proposal and would be really viable to those children, but it’s half our budget. I propose we offer half of the places, so £3,125, with the hope that other funders will be helping out.”
Members agreed with the proposal.
At Westbury Town Council’s meeting on Monday July 5th cllr Kimmins, who is town mayor, put forward a motion requesting £7,000, explaining that Westbury Area Board had already agreed to fund £3,125.
Cllr Matthew Dean proposed approval but it garnered no seconders, so the motion was lost.