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Homework club in Greenstead to be axed
8:30pm Monday 27th February 2012 in News
A HOMEWORK centre which helps dozens of childen is being axed.
The centre at Greenstead Library in Colchester provides support for 65 students, mostly from Colchester Academy, but funding is being withdrawn.
A furious Julie Young, county councillor for the area, said it is the latest example of young people being let down.
And Colchester Academy headteacher Barry Hersom described the decision as a big disappointment.
Jeremy Lucas, councillor responsible for libraries at County Hall, told fellow councillors via letter.
He stated: “Originally homework centres in libraries were set up with time-limited funding from the National Lottery.
“When this funding ended, the majority of such arrangements across the county had to be discontinued.
“We were able to avoid this in Harlow and in Greenstead by means of a one year grant from the Essex County Council study support budget.
"Unfortunately, this too will no longer be available after March."
Mr Lucas claims the centres cost too much with the one at Greenstead costing almost £4,300 a year.
He said: “While these two areas are ones in which deprivation and social problems can be high, they are far from being the only ones in Essex and in the current financial climate we do have a responsibility to provide an equitable and widely accessible service.”
However, Mrs Young believes the way to provide an equal service is not to bring good schemes down but to widen them to help other deprived areas also.
She said: “This is yet another attack on the life chances of young people from our most deprived communities.”
She claims this, on top of the loss of Connexions, cuts to the education maintenance allowance and school funding, means children are being let down.
She added: “Youth unemployment has rocketing and we all know the importance of education in getting work.
“At both centres healthy numbers of young people are using this service. I am disgusted and will do what I can to save it.”
Mr Hersom added: “It is obviously disappointing to find out a valuable resource is no longer available but we do understand there are funding pressures.”
Those using the service will be able to continue using it until the end of the financial year.
Mr Lucas concluded: “I do recognise that the homework centres in Harlow and Greenstead libraries contribute towards the educational achievement of the students who use them and we would be willing to maintain the provision in those libraries if funding could be found.
“I am sorry about this but we are all aware that savings have to be made and we are trying to do this in ways which have the least negative impact.”