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Update on cuts to Getset family services at the Key Centre

by adamboyden on 29 January, 2019

Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, asked others to sign, shared it on social media and talked to their friends, family and local councillors about this petition. We have had over 580 signatures (see here).

The video a friend made, with parents who have had help from Getset at the Key Centre, has been seen by over 10,000 people. These certainly raised awareness. Many of you also took the time to respond directly to the Somerset County Council (SCC) official consultation. I also wrote a consultation response based on feedback from many of your comments.

I submitted our petition to SCC officers on your behalf and SCC replied in the press that the Key Centre is safe from closure.

There is some good news about the Getset Level 2 family support service based at the Key Centre.

In January SCC’s Scrutiny for Policies, Children and Families Committee met and considered a report on the Getset Level 2 service consultation, in item 10 on the agenda – see here. It described a large number of responses from people who value the service, highlighting not just the need to retain it but the problems that would arise for many families if it was abolished. It noted a large response from the Frome area and our petition. The report proposed to retain the Getset Level 2 service ‘for a further year to March 2020, in which time further development work can be undertaken with partners and the community and voluntary sector to develop Somerset’s early help offer.’ The committee accepted the proposal and the decision went to SCC’s Cabinet at its meeting in February (see here in item 12). Cabinet agreed and the Getset Level 2 family support service is being kept for another year to enable SCC to work out what to do next.

Last autumn the county council had proposed to abolish the service entirely. The change of policy is entirely down to the strength of the responses to the consultation, including the petition and your individual responses, as their official press release (see here) acknowledges many of the over 700 responses ‘raised concerns about the potential impact of the proposed immediate ending of support.’

The county council is now having meetings with organisations to plan the future family support service. This includes Frome Town Council who have agreed to fund a Childrens and Young Peoples Project Officer for 2 years to coordinate and improve support for families (see here). I do hope that something comes of this, that skilled staff will be retained and families will not just be sent to talk to overstretched voluntary groups.

Thank you for your support on this. You helped save the family support service at the Key Centre and elsewhere for at least a year. This has only been possible because you and others made your voice heard.  As we now see nothing, not even “necessary cuts” are inevitable.

Please see here for previous news. Please get in touch to find out more and get involved. I will keep you informed when I know more.

Adam Boyden

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