Council cuts hit weakest groups


East Sussex County Council (ESCC) has recently launched two consultations on cuts to services they currently provide which, in turn, will affect the two most vulnerable groups in society – children under five years of age and pensioners relying on “meals on wheels”.

Early years support

ESCC recently launched its Early Help Strategy which aims to “build stronger families”. The strategy’s overarching aim is to “protect vulnerable children and young people from harm and assist their educational progress” but it also includes cuts to services supporting pre-school children with the proposed closure of the ESCC-funded Children’s Centre on The Grove. The proposed closure follows previous changes to the Centre’s operations, as reported in Rye News in 2015, and Rye Children’s Centre is now open on only one day a week on Tuesdays between 9am-4pm.

ESCC reduction in child support

As part of its Early Help Strategy, ESCC would like to hear from organisations that currently provide educational support to pre-school children and to discuss if they would be interested in taking over these services. For those voluntary organisations out there who may be interested, it is worth noting that you would need to “take on the full cost and liability for running and maintaining the property over an agreed period”.

ESCC is consulting on these proposals until July 29, 2019 and you can read more and have your say here.

Meals on wheels

In a separate move, and at the other end of the age range, ESCC has also launched a consultation on its plans to stop paying for meals in the community, more commonly known as meals on wheels.

At the moment the ESCC subsidy is £4.10 per meal and their proposal would mean that people would need to pay the full cost of their meals if they wanted to carry on receiving them. ESCC estimate the full cost of a meal ranges between £4 and £8, depending on what meal is provided, and the majority of people receive a meal seven days a week. The Council sayS that stopping the subsidy could see savings of £483,000 per year.

“We think it is reasonable to ask people to pay for their meals given the budget pressures we face. Most other local authorities have already moved away from subsidising this sort of service.” ESCC has said.

It is estimated that 750 people will be affected across the county, of which half are over the age of 85. If you, or someone you know, will be affected or if you would like to comment on these changes you can do so online here and have until August 6.

Image Credits: ESCC .

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