Locals fear over expansion of council service

PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 June 2011

North Somerset

North Somerset

Archant

PARENTS fear over the move of a council-run programme which has benefited one of Westons’ most deprived areas for three years.

The Behaviour Improvement Programme (BIP) shop based on the Bournville estate is moving from its base in Lonsdale Avenue to Ellesmere Road in Uphill in an expansion from covering just the South Ward to the whole of North Somerset.

The move means that the programme will no longer provide a drop-in service.

The shop has been based on the estate for three years, providing advice for parents and children living in the South ward on behaviour issues.

The council is set to close the shop on July 15 and move into the new premises the following week. The offices in Uphill will not open until September as the BIP is running its summer programmes.

Jenny Roth is a family support worker for the BIP, who has been there since it began six years ago.

She said: “I am hoping someone will come in and fill our space.

“I don’t know if that is likely to happen and I think we will be missed for the support we give parents and we can provide.

“A lot of children and parents use the drop in centre.

“We give them a drink and something to eat if they want to stay and chat for a while and I think the drop-in centre is crucial for people who want to use it.”

Di White, aged 37, living on the Bournville estate has two daughters in their teens and a young son. She regularly uses the programme as a way for her kids to solve problems that she didn’t feel she could.

She said: “One of my daughters had a problem.

“So I suggested that she went down to the programme and have a chat and sit down with one of the ladies in the shop.

“They gave her some good advice and it was someone she could talk to that wasn’t me.

“She then took on the advice and hasn’t had any problems since.

“It will be a real problem if they move.

“You will have kids roaming the streets and the programme was doing a good job of stopping that.”

Christina Barnett, aged 28, needed the BIP shop to help her relationship with her nine-year-old son.

She said: “Something happened at school with Daniel, and BIP got involved with the family.

“Jenny Roth used to take him out of school and have a one to one discussion with him to try and find out what made him angry.

“After that, Daniel became a totally different child and he was a lot happier.

“It is such a shame that they are moving because a lot of children on the estate have benefited from them and the work that they do.

“Without them I don’t know where I would have ended up with Daniel and his behaviour.”

The council are making the scheme county wide following its huge success.

A council spokesman said: “It has been so successful that they are going to do the good work across the county.

“It will continue as it is now although we will be unable to continue with the drop in service.

“It has been so effective and helpful, the plan is to roll it out across the district.”

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