Thurrock Council may need sponsor for disabled children’s play scheme

THURROCK Council may look at bringing in a sponsor for a summer playscheme for disabled children reports the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The council is upping its fees and charges for a range of services, including the playscheme which set to rise by 2 per cent from £18.50 per day per child to £19 in 2022/23.

The Short Break and Outreach Service has been operating a Summer Playscheme for Disabled Children at the Sunshine Centre in Tilbury for a number of years. It provides activities for children who cannot access mainstream holiday clubs due their complex and special needs.

The service runs for four days per week for four weeks of the summer holidays and accommodates 50 children every day.

A report to the children’s services overview and scrutiny committee, said: “Parents are charged a fee to assist with the high cost of the scheme, which is used to fund towards the high ratio of staff needed to provide a safe service.

“The parent contributions do not cover the overall cost of the service and the deficit is covered by the directorate. Sponsorship of the service is being considered to cover the shortfall for 2022/23 as recommended by the recent Children’s Service review.”

Barry Johnson, councillor responsible for children’s services and education, welcomed the suggestion of sponsorship.

He said: “I would certainly encourage this. It hasn’t gone any further than being something we would look at.

“No talks have taken place with anyone yet and I would say they would have to be vetted but a sponsor may benefit from a bit of advertising. It’s a shame we have to look at this but everyone is in the same boat.”

Fees are also going up for the Grangewaters Outdoor Education Centre.

The centre which provides a number of outdoor activities for schools and residents, will see increases between 5 and 11 per cent

The report said: “The setting of appropriate fees and charges will enable the council to generate essential income for the funding of council services. The approval of reviewed fees and charges will also ensure that the council is competitive with other service providers and neighbouring councils. The ability to vary charges within financial year will enable services to more flexibly adapt to changing economic conditions.”

The committee will discuss the charges on Wednesday.

For more information on the increases, visit https://democracy.thurrock.gov.uk/documents/s33290/CSOSC%20-%20ITEM%2007%20-%20Fees%20and%20Charges%20Pricing%20Strategy%202022-23%20-%201%20Dec%202021.pdf

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