Hop, skip, jump – and a step forward
A WAY forward has emerged to end the row over changes at a specialist day-care centre for disabled children in Kingswood.
Parents staged a sit-in protest at the Hop Skip and Jump centre in Grimsbury Road last Saturday and only left when they were promised a meeting with the trustees.
That meeting was held yesterday and parents said afterwards they were looking forward to working with the trustees in the future.
The trustees have promised to let the parents continue using the centre on a drop-in basis.
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In return, the parents have agreed that the centre can be used for respite care on two days a week.
This arrangement will start during the half-term holiday.
It was also agreed that a group of 11 representatives from the community will start talks with the trustees during the next few weeks over the future use of the centre.
Nothing will be decided until the community has been consulted on any proposals.
One of the parents, Julian Barr, said: "There were many strong opinions at the meeting but a way forward has emerged. I think we will see a really positive partnership between the parents and the trustees."
He said the trustees were responsive to what the parents had to say and how they used the centre.
A spokesman for the trustees said they very much looked forward to working with the parents in the future.
Parents had been angry to find out that the Hop Skip and Jump Foundation, which recently dissolved the centre's management committee to revamp the centre, were no longer going to offer daily drop-in sessions.
Founder Clarissa Mitchell said they wanted to improve care offered by providing a day-care service along with family and sibling days, when parents and their children could relax and play together.
She said that they had written to all parents outlining the changes – but many parents told the Evening Post that they had had no letter.
In frustration at what they called a lack of consultation, about 80 people went to the centre last Saturday afternoon.