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Awarding-winning community service under threat
A SCHOOL plans to cut an award-winning community service that delivers holiday clubs, evening classes, help for job seekers and a foodbank.
Shoebury High School plans to slash funding for its extended schools initiative, which runs schemes for people of all ages in the east of Southend.
Co-ordinators Karen Stock, who received an MBE for her work in 2010, and Stephanie Farrell, are being forced to bid for the remaining post as the school scales back the £90,000-ayear programme.
A third assistant position, held by Rob Frost, was already due to end in October, leaving one person to do three people’s work from the autumn.
Shoebury councillor Mike Assenheim, a governor at the school, said: “The community will be most disappointed as a lot of families in Shoebury need this service. The school should review the decision and find the money from somewhere else.”
Former Shoebury councillor Roger Hadley, who was responsible for children and learning when Ms Stock received her MBE, said: “It’s the wrong decision. The benefits far outweigh the costs to the school.
“For years it has benefitted from being at the centre of the community and I think Ofsted will pick up on this.”
All other schools stopped their initiatives when Government funding ended three years ago, but Shoebury put aside cash to keep the service running.
However, the ongoing level of funding, which the school will not reveal, only covers one post.
Headteacher Mark Schofield said: “Shoebury High School planned, thinking the money might not be there for ever. We had some money set aside which enabled us to continue with the extended schools programme for about three years.
“In that time we have worked to develop an income stream to support the programme. We have now come to the point when the extended schools initiative has to work within that income stream.”
Schemes organised by the schools team include Debate Shoeburyness, which led to pupils gaining £40,000 for new zebra crossings in Elm Road and Caulfield Road.
Share, a foodbank at Shoebury and Thorpe Bay Baptist Church helps 55 families a week. The team also runs Shoebury Fair, Shoebury art trail and a job club for the unemployed.
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