Dismay at closure of social skill club

Hereford Times: Members of the Skillz Club (from left) Ingrid Darwood, Matthew Bright, Matthew Darwood, Emma Bright, Iwan Smith and Wendy Smith. Members of the Skillz Club (from left) Ingrid Darwood, Matthew Bright, Matthew Darwood, Emma Bright, Iwan Smith and Wendy Smith.

THE mother of an autistic boy says she is “devastated” at the planned closure of a club helping those in Herefordshire with the condition and with Asperger’s.

Emma Bright says there is nowhere else in the county like the Skillz Clubs held in Leominster and Ross-on- Wye because they offer children activities vital to their development.

Writing to Herefordshire Council on behalf of a number of concerned parents, Emma said she understands savings need to be made but urged the authority not to leave families like hers in the lurch.

“In general there is a very low level of support available to children with autism and Asperger’s in Herefordshire,” said Emma, whose 12-year-old son Matthew is autistic and attends the classes.

“Not protecting these valuable and vital services leaves our children unsupported during a period in their lives which will affect how they develop and progress towards becoming an adult.

“This is devastating news to us all.

“It needs to be recognised that Skillz Club is a place where our children can go to learn new skills that will help them in the future.

Other clubs do not offer this.”

Autism is a lifelong condition affecting how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

Asperger’s is characterised by difficulties with social interaction and communication as well as flexibility of thinking or imagination.

The clubs have been run by youth service professionals for the past 12 months.

Philippa Granthier, head of children’s services commissioning with the council, said following a youth service review it was decided it would not be possible to staff the clubs from the end of March.

“We understand how important these clubs are to the young people and families who attend them,” she said. “We have a range of activities available for children with autism and Asperger’s through our short breaks programme, the details of which are available on the council’s website.”

She said a new programme providing services to those youngsters should be rolled out in October.

Comments (21)

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12:10pm Sun 24 Mar 13

dippyhippy says...

Very sad to hear this. Are we still saying that vulnerable groups are not being targeted????The elderly, the disabled,the dis-advantaged....ca
n anybody else see the pattern thats emerging......
Very sad to hear this. Are we still saying that vulnerable groups are not being targeted????The elderly, the disabled,the dis-advantaged....ca n anybody else see the pattern thats emerging...... dippyhippy
  • Score: 0

12:41pm Sun 24 Mar 13

megilleland says...

It appears the council doesn't want to help others, just itself.
It appears the council doesn't want to help others, just itself. megilleland
  • Score: 0

1:10pm Sun 24 Mar 13

dippyhippy says...

Yes, this "we're all in it together" just doesn't wash. As I've said before, some of us are "in it" up to our necks, and floundering in the deep end with just a half inflated arm band to keep our heads above water, whilst others just dip a toe "in it" in the warm waters of the shallows, whilst sipping a cocktail!
Yes, this "we're all in it together" just doesn't wash. As I've said before, some of us are "in it" up to our necks, and floundering in the deep end with just a half inflated arm band to keep our heads above water, whilst others just dip a toe "in it" in the warm waters of the shallows, whilst sipping a cocktail! dippyhippy
  • Score: 0

1:22pm Sun 24 Mar 13

bobby47 says...

This, more than anything, confirms to me why I despise this Council Leadership and all they've come to represent.
The weak, the poor, the vulnerable and those who are unable to support themselves are the ones who pay the price for irresponsible and reckless governance by this ruling elite.
They'll throw themselves headlong into some mad cap scheme and fork out half a bloody million quid when some self serving bloated property developers shout, 'More. We want more', but they wont think twice about destroying something thats good, kind, pure and beneficial to the wanting and needy.
I despise this Council Leadership!!!
And this aint just firey rhetoric. I mean it. They are a disgrace for putting our finances in such a precarious position where these form of cuts are required to keep some of our fat, bloated and pointless Council public workers in grace and favour.
Disgusting Jarvis. I can just about swallow the odd shop closing because of your chaotic thinking but this......this is a step to far. Hang your head in shame. and to all those freeloaders who ride on our backs, who continue to work from home, attending pointless meetings and speaking in a language that we cannot understand,' I hope your back bloody axle snaps'.
This, more than anything, confirms to me why I despise this Council Leadership and all they've come to represent. The weak, the poor, the vulnerable and those who are unable to support themselves are the ones who pay the price for irresponsible and reckless governance by this ruling elite. They'll throw themselves headlong into some mad cap scheme and fork out half a bloody million quid when some self serving bloated property developers shout, 'More. We want more', but they wont think twice about destroying something thats good, kind, pure and beneficial to the wanting and needy. I despise this Council Leadership!!! And this aint just firey rhetoric. I mean it. They are a disgrace for putting our finances in such a precarious position where these form of cuts are required to keep some of our fat, bloated and pointless Council public workers in grace and favour. Disgusting Jarvis. I can just about swallow the odd shop closing because of your chaotic thinking but this......this is a step to far. Hang your head in shame. and to all those freeloaders who ride on our backs, who continue to work from home, attending pointless meetings and speaking in a language that we cannot understand,' I hope your back bloody axle snaps'. bobby47
  • Score: 0

1:34pm Sun 24 Mar 13

dippyhippy says...

Well said!
Well said! dippyhippy
  • Score: 0

3:09pm Sun 24 Mar 13

littlewhitebull says...

I agree with all the above statements - well said.
Having passed a new, welcome to our county signpost today, it seems that Here You Can does not apply to the council, otherwise it might say: Here You Can Care and We Do.
I agree with all the above statements - well said. Having passed a new, welcome to our county signpost today, it seems that Here You Can does not apply to the council, otherwise it might say: Here You Can Care and We Do. littlewhitebull
  • Score: 0

5:21pm Sun 24 Mar 13

bobby47 says...

Posters, A chap called Gary from Stanhope has written in. Please go to that news thread and ask Stanhope to fund this Skillz Club.
They've made enough money from our City of Ruin and Im sure they'd consider it a good public relations excercise to help out our fellow citizens who are in such a vulnerable position.
Thanks everyone.
Posters, A chap called Gary from Stanhope has written in. Please go to that news thread and ask Stanhope to fund this Skillz Club. They've made enough money from our City of Ruin and Im sure they'd consider it a good public relations excercise to help out our fellow citizens who are in such a vulnerable position. Thanks everyone. bobby47
  • Score: 0

6:14pm Sun 24 Mar 13

bobby47 says...

Head of Children Commissioning Services! For the bloody Council. Is there any social area of business that this Council haven't got their nose in.
How much are we paying for this Head of Children's Commissioning Services. How many are beneath this persons command.
How many staff. How many Team Leaders. Supervisors. Managers and how many meetings do they hold with the real experts in this area of business, namely Social Services.
They'll pull the plug on this wonderful public service and they won't give this issue a backwards glance.
I despair! I would respectfully suggest that our Council Head of Children's Commissioning Services should speak to the Director of Children's Commissioning Services and think of imaginative ways to keep this wonderful scheme going.
Approach Stanhope and ask them to fund this project!
How on earth did we all allow the Council to become so involved in areas other than Tarmacing our roads, housing the homeless and watering our hanging baskets.
Head of Children Commissioning Services! For the bloody Council. Is there any social area of business that this Council haven't got their nose in. How much are we paying for this Head of Children's Commissioning Services. How many are beneath this persons command. How many staff. How many Team Leaders. Supervisors. Managers and how many meetings do they hold with the real experts in this area of business, namely Social Services. They'll pull the plug on this wonderful public service and they won't give this issue a backwards glance. I despair! I would respectfully suggest that our Council Head of Children's Commissioning Services should speak to the Director of Children's Commissioning Services and think of imaginative ways to keep this wonderful scheme going. Approach Stanhope and ask them to fund this project! How on earth did we all allow the Council to become so involved in areas other than Tarmacing our roads, housing the homeless and watering our hanging baskets. bobby47
  • Score: 0

6:40pm Sun 24 Mar 13

GDJ says...

This is a very, very ironic and sad situation. You would think there would be more understanding from a high level in the council for these parents' and children's situation. Perhaps it is one of those situations where someone might find money down the back of the council sofa and keep the club going.


But whatever the situation emotionally and ethically, it must surely save a lot of money and heartache in the long term to invest in these children now.
This is a very, very ironic and sad situation. You would think there would be more understanding from a high level in the council for these parents' and children's situation. Perhaps it is one of those situations where someone might find money down the back of the council sofa and keep the club going. But whatever the situation emotionally and ethically, it must surely save a lot of money and heartache in the long term to invest in these children now. GDJ
  • Score: 0

8:42pm Sun 24 Mar 13

dippyhippy says...

GDJ, you have hit the nail on the head! And Bobby,asking Stanhope to fund this is a most excellent idea - its small change to them.
GDJ, you have hit the nail on the head! And Bobby,asking Stanhope to fund this is a most excellent idea - its small change to them. dippyhippy
  • Score: 0

9:39pm Sun 24 Mar 13

bobby47 says...

The idea Dippy is we keep going on about it. Over and over again untill it becomes a nuisance and it becomes something of an embarrasment. Then, if we keep going on, it becomes news and maybe something might get done.
Lets test our muscles and see if 'we' have any clout to cause change.
Lets give it a go. It cant do any harm.
The idea Dippy is we keep going on about it. Over and over again untill it becomes a nuisance and it becomes something of an embarrasment. Then, if we keep going on, it becomes news and maybe something might get done. Lets test our muscles and see if 'we' have any clout to cause change. Lets give it a go. It cant do any harm. bobby47
  • Score: 0

10:48pm Sun 24 Mar 13

dippyhippy says...

I'm up for that, count me in.
I'm up for that, count me in. dippyhippy
  • Score: 0

4:16am Mon 25 Mar 13

WYSIATI says...

I like the idea of asking Stanhope - or other businesses (and individuals) for that matter if they might contribute to keeping some services that will otherwise be closed.

Sadly this is one example - there are many and there will be more - needs are increasing budgets are decreasing.

The politicians nationally have decided that substantial cuts will be made in the provisions of services to children and adults. The council politicians have decided how to allocate a shrinking budget. I cannot believe the idea that the people who have dedicated their lives to setting up and providing services to the vulnerable and do this every day of their working lives are not trying to protect services and are not anguished at being forced to close the very services they set up when times were different and the previous Government was providing money.

The Govt has done a great job of taking away the money and getting us to focus on blaming the messengers. It's a neat trick but as GDJ says we'll pay for these policies in years to come as we did for the policies and neglect of the 1980s
I like the idea of asking Stanhope - or other businesses (and individuals) for that matter if they might contribute to keeping some services that will otherwise be closed. Sadly this is one example - there are many and there will be more - needs are increasing budgets are decreasing. The politicians nationally have decided that substantial cuts will be made in the provisions of services to children and adults. The council politicians have decided how to allocate a shrinking budget. I cannot believe the idea that the people who have dedicated their lives to setting up and providing services to the vulnerable and do this every day of their working lives are not trying to protect services and are not anguished at being forced to close the very services they set up when times were different and the previous Government was providing money. The Govt has done a great job of taking away the money and getting us to focus on blaming the messengers. It's a neat trick but as GDJ says we'll pay for these policies in years to come as we did for the policies and neglect of the 1980s WYSIATI
  • Score: 0

7:40am Mon 25 Mar 13

Grid Knocker says...

Why not tap old McAlpines for some money? On the infamous grey site hoarding, in front of where Garrick House once stood, they've plastered it with pr guff about what wonderful caring contractors they are.

If I get the name and address of their chairman in London and post it here, is anyone else up to sending him a letter asking him to send a cheque for £50 to Leominster's Skillz Club? Or would it be a waste of a postage stamp?
Why not tap old McAlpines for some money? On the infamous grey site hoarding, in front of where Garrick House once stood, they've plastered it with pr guff about what wonderful caring contractors they are. If I get the name and address of their chairman in London and post it here, is anyone else up to sending him a letter asking him to send a cheque for £50 to Leominster's Skillz Club? Or would it be a waste of a postage stamp? Grid Knocker
  • Score: 0

9:57am Mon 25 Mar 13

TwoWheelsGood says...

Yes, definitely, but £50 is petty cash - they spend more on boardroom biscuits than that. Add a couple of 0's.
Yes, definitely, but £50 is petty cash - they spend more on boardroom biscuits than that. Add a couple of 0's. TwoWheelsGood
  • Score: 0

1:23pm Mon 25 Mar 13

Themightyboosh says...

yet more evidence that our council are self serving parasitic scum.
yet more evidence that our council are self serving parasitic scum. Themightyboosh
  • Score: 0

2:04pm Mon 25 Mar 13

Herefordian07 says...

Parasites often live off a host until it perishes, then the parasite moves on to another host, sounds familiar doesn't it, Gloucester, Hereford...where next?
Parasites often live off a host until it perishes, then the parasite moves on to another host, sounds familiar doesn't it, Gloucester, Hereford...where next? Herefordian07
  • Score: 0

3:39pm Mon 25 Mar 13

Grid Knocker says...

Here's the man to write to:- Tony Aikenhead, Chairman, Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd., Eaton Court, Maylands Ave., Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP2 7TR.
Here's the man to write to:- Tony Aikenhead, Chairman, Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd., Eaton Court, Maylands Ave., Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP2 7TR. Grid Knocker
  • Score: 0

10:29pm Mon 25 Mar 13

dippyhippy says...

I'll write in Grid Knocker,its worth the price of a stamp to give it a go. Thanks for putting the info up.
I'll write in Grid Knocker,its worth the price of a stamp to give it a go. Thanks for putting the info up. dippyhippy
  • Score: 0

5:36pm Thu 28 Mar 13

bobby47 says...

Graham Powell.........Hello Graham. You're the only one who I know comes on here and has the courage to jump into this bear pit.
Can you speak to Mr Nick Nenadich and ask him to have a look at funding this important social service. I know that he's got a big heart and maybe he could do something to help.
My warmest regards to you Graham.
Graham Powell.........Hello Graham. You're the only one who I know comes on here and has the courage to jump into this bear pit. Can you speak to Mr Nick Nenadich and ask him to have a look at funding this important social service. I know that he's got a big heart and maybe he could do something to help. My warmest regards to you Graham. bobby47
  • Score: 0

10:34pm Thu 28 Mar 13

dippyhippy says...

This idea of yours, Bobby,gets a mention in HT on the letters page! You were right,its now in the public arena so to speak. It would be great to see Our Graham pick this up and run with it.
This idea of yours, Bobby,gets a mention in HT on the letters page! You were right,its now in the public arena so to speak. It would be great to see Our Graham pick this up and run with it. dippyhippy
  • Score: 0

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