Relief for children across Merton as funding to popular scheme is saved


Merton council were planning to stop funding to the Duke of Edinburgh Award


By SWLondoner staff

Children across Merton can continue to take part in a popular scheme after plans to cut its funding were dropped at the last minute.

The Duke of Edinburgh Scheme was one of a number of services in Merton which was earmarked to have its council funding stripped as part of a drive to save money.

At their budget meeting on Wednesday night, the council agreed to drop the plans and said it would maintain its funding, as well as listening to concerns that the scheme disproportionally funds students at select schools.

The change in heart was welcomed by opposition councillors who had fought against the plans.

“We understand that at the last minute the council has reversed its decision to withdraw funding for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme – and we’re really pleased,” said Lib Dem lead councillor Iain Dysart.

“Merton has played a leading role in encouraging and supporting the take-up of this highly valued scheme, which helps young people develop the skills and attitudes they need to become more rounded and confident adults.

“If the council hadn’t performed this u-turn, we had lodged an amendment to challenge the decision.”

The scheme offers people aged 14 – 25 the chance to attain bronze, silver and gold awards by taking part in sports, volunteering, learning new skills and embarking on outdoor expeditions.

It was also announced that council tax will be frozen for the third year running, the only council in South London to do so.

“These are very challenging times but our top priority must be the people in Merton who need our help most,” said cabinet member for finance Councillor Mark Allison.

Cuts announced at the meeting include a £5,000 a year cut to The Polka children’s theatre and Attic Theatre group in Wimbledon.

Photo courtesy of towo™, with thanks.

Follow us @SW_Londoner

Related Articles