The leader of Wrexham Independent Group has today voiced concerns over a proposed cut in funding for Kerbcraft at 31 schools in Wrexham County Borough following a 21% reduction in grant funding from the Welsh Government which is administrated via Taith (North Wales Transport consortia) for all North Wales Authorities.
Kerbcraft is a child pedestrian training programme for pupils aged 5 to 7 years but it is targeted at Year One pupils. In 2008/09, 24 schools were involved in the programme and over 1,000 pupils were trained. In 2009/10 an additional 6 schools were added to the scheme, meaning that 31 schools in Wrexham currently receive Kerbcraft training.
Kerbcraft has been very successful in Wrexham County in the last few years with over 1,150 pupils being trained by the 150 volunteers supported by council officers to assist and reduce accidents outside our schools. Since Kerbcraft was introduced there have been no fatalities or serious accidents outside schools and statistics prove that Ksi (Killed or seriously injured) are greatly reduced where Kerbcraft is in operation. Kerbcraft is greatly valued and appreciated by parents Head Teachers, and members of this council.
Councillor David A Bithell Leader of Wrexham Independent Group said “I am really concerned this service is under threat to following a proposed reduction in staff that may lead to a reduction in service from 12 weeks to 6. We are seeing more and more grant funding being cut from the Welsh Government which impacts on local services.”
“Only recently we have seen a 27% reduction is grant funding for the LTSG (local transport grant) which supports local bus services and this has seen a rise in school bus fares by 55%. I have written to Wrexham council to find out what is happening and I am also raising my concerns to the Chief Executive so that members have a full picture of all grant funding in Wrexham. “On one hand the council is given a 1.9% budget increase from the Welsh Government then subsequently cut the Road Safety Grant by 21%.”
Tara Green Rhostyllen Community Councillor and Kerbcraft volunteer said “I am unhappy about the cuts that are being made because there is no way that you can cram a 12 week course into 6 weeks for young children. They are compromising the safety of the children.”
“I’d suggest the bosses take a cut in wages to fund it, I’m sure it would be a different situation if one of their grandchildren were involved in a road traffic accident. This course is an essential part of an education for life and I, along with other volunteers will be writing to members of the council to express our concerns. “If volunteers can give up their time for free and there are 50 of us then the council should be keeping the paid staff. “It’s the paid staff that leads us”.
There is already a thread on this topic including the views of current volunteers on the Wrexham.com view or take part by clicking here.