Letters October 20

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IN late August this year, via the Doncaster Free Press, it was announced that Doncaster Council were considering a proposal to save money by taking over the management of children’s centres across the borough. A decision was to be made in the near future.

That decision was made on Wednesday, October 12,,and despite a desperate attempt by a number of concerned citizens, the decision has been made to go ahead with the proposal.

The children’s centre on Beckett Road has an excellent rating from its latest Ofsted Inspection and has always enjoyed such a grade, not only officially awarded but from all those families with whom they have had contact over the many years it has operated.

The members and friends of St Andrew’s Methodist Church are not surprised at this reputation for excellence, partly because of the Christian ethos of Action for Children, the charity that currently manages this and other centres across the town, but also because we have worked alongside the centre in supporting many of its activities and have seen at first hand the high quality of care and support it delivers to its clients.

We are extremely disappointed that Doncaster Council, with its recent shocking record in respect of its management of child care issues, should now believe it is capable of matching the level of service achieved by an organisation that has worked tirelessly in this field for since 1869.

Clearly, this process has been driven as a means of reducing costs, despite the fact that the council itself will need to make provision to support the work of the services it is taking over and so additional funding will obviously be required.

Our concern is of course that the quality of service will be reduced to the detriment of children and their families who are most in need within our society. If the savings required to be made are not achieved, our fear is that centres such as the one on Beckett Road, together with the six other ‘Action for Children’ centres across the metropolitan borough, will ultimately be closed.

So this presents a challenge to all the citizens of the town, and especially those who read the Doncaster Free Press:-

To take an interest in what is happening in the name of child care in this town, to constantly press the mayor and the entire council to ensure that standards are not allowed to fall and to continually raise questions about the provision of services to some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

You can rest assured that St Andrew’s Methodist Church will be closely monitoring the way the Wheatley centre is managed in the future!

Michael Burdis, Church Council Secretary, Zetland Road, Doncaster

Take-over of children’s centres- page seven

Closure is not an improvement

AT the Cabinet meeting last Wednesday, Mayor Davies outlined his “improvements” to the Library Service by removing funding for 14 of them.

This euphemism for doing a hatchet job on this service illustrates the appalling lack of honesty apart from showing no interest in the educational aspirations of Doncaster residents.

By refusing to let Sandra Holland (who leads the Labour opposition) have her voice heard nor any of the public present either, he shows contempt for democracy as well as concerned members of the public.

The Daily Telegraph noticed his behaviour on Saturday and the Independent referred to the vandalism in relation to Doncaster’s Library Services in its editorial so it’s not just the “Manchester Guardian” (as the Mayor still calls it) that disapproves.

David Marriott, Saxton Ave, Bessacarr

Closures make me angry

WELL, he’s done it, our mayor has decided to close most of the town’s libraries.

I am so angry at the destruction of such a vital resource to our town, especially by someone who admits he doesn’t use libraries.

Philip Pullman, the author, is quoted in the Guardian Newspaper (October 14) on the closure of libraries in Brent, London as follows - “I can hear the popping of champagne corks all over the country as philistine local authorities welcome the news. It will encourage them to be even more destructive of the social good, even more careless of their responsibilities, even more stupid”

I couldn’t put it better myself.

Judith M Morgan, Bessacarr Lane, Bessacarr

Ex navy men wanted

THE Royal Navy is looking for any reader who has served in the Electrical, Radio, Radar, Weapons, Warfare or Control Branch of the Royal Navy and who is willing to assist in a small way in training tomorrow’s sailors in the skills and way of life they learnt whilst in the Royal Navy.

The Royal Naval electrical Branch Association is working in conjunction with HMS Collingwood at Fareham in Hampshire, to bring to the sailors of tomorrow, the experience of yesterday.

This will be relayed in a relaxed way to trainees in groups, by those who are able to visit HMS Collingwood for these short Lamp Swinging sessions.

Have a look at what we do at www.rneba.org.uk and download an application form or write to Mike Crowe, RNEBA, 7 heath Road, Lake, Sandown, Isle of Wight, PO36 8PG or drop me an email at mike@rneba.org.uk

Mike Crowe, Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association.

There is help out there

I WOULD like to reply to L Newton’s letter (Freeviews, October 13) “Where are the services”.

We have set up a Neighbourhood Watch in this area but despite leaflets being delivered to L Newton’s street, among others, we find only a handful of people attend.

Yes, the community safety wardens have been cut, but they still do a brilliant job if you contact them. You cannot expect them to be down every street but they are prompt in attending if you ring them with a problem.

We also have excellent police community support officers and neighbourhood response team, they are there if you need them.

The CSO and PCSO attend every neighbourhood watch meeting, so you can speak to them face to face.

J Weir, Ivor Grove Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, Balby

Leaflet to help diabetics

THERE is no doubt that a great many of your readers will suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust is frequently contacted by people who want advice about their diet. Very often, particularly just after diagnosis, people simply feel they do not have enough information about diet and how it affects their diabetes.

People are often told that they need to eat healthily, lose weight and to stay away from sugary and fatty foods. This particularly applies to people with Type 2 diabetes and can leave them without the information they need. As one gentleman said: “I want to be told what I can eat, not what I can’t.

People with type 1 diabetes who were diagnosed before 1986 were taught to count carbohydrates. However, there is now a whole generation of people using insulin and just as importantly health professionals, who have not been taught about the benefits of counting carbohydrates.

It is for these reasons IDDT has produced a FREE 20 page booklet ‘Diabetes, Everyday Eating.’ It gives people ideas about everyday, affordable meals and along with a four week menu plan, will be especially useful to anyone who has been newly diagnosed. It is a stepping stone to learning more about diet and diabetes.

IDDT produces a wide variety of FREE information. For more information about the work of IDDT or to receive your FREE copy of Diabetes, Everyday Eating, contact IDDT: PO Box 294, Northampton NN1 4XZ, tel. 01604 622837, e-mail martin@iddtinternational.org

Martin Hurst, PR Manager IDDY, Northampton

Make a will and help charity

THE four solicitors in your circulation who are taking part in Will Aid, Make a Will Month, are reporting record levels of people who are wanting to make a Will.

Readers need to contact the participating solicitors quickly if they would like to make an appointment under this excellent scheme.

Will Aid solicitors draw up basic Wills during the month of November without charging their usual fees. Instead they invite the will makers to donate to the Will Aid group of charities

The solicitors taking part in Will Aid week: Taylor Bracewell. Mr Peter Caswell, Thorne Road, 01302 730614; Grainger Appleyard, Mr John Grainger, Hallgate, tel. 01302 327257; Bridge Sanderson Munro, Mrs V Bradley, Hallgate, 01302 321621; Grainger Appleyard, Ms Jessica Duffy, Castlegate, Tickhill, tel. 01302 327257.

Sue Davison, Will Aid Press Officer.

Packed lunches for healthy life

I am writing to let your readers know about World Cancer Research Fund’s (WCRF) new healthy meal planner, following the news that 40 per cent of primary school packed lunches do not have any fruits or vegetables.

My Packed Lunch – www.greatgrubclub.com/my-packed-lunch - aims to make packed lunches fun and gives parents and children healthy and tasty food ideas.

We want school lunch boxes to play their part in setting children on the right track for a healthy and active life.

The free game has taken on board comments from parents that they are tired of being told what not to give their children but would like a little help on creating exciting – and inexpensive – meals for kids’ lunch boxes.

The game is part of our Great Grub Club, a website aimed at four- to 11-year-olds that promotes healthy lifestyle habits children will hopefully carry into adulthood.

WCRF recommends that both children and adults eat at least five portions a day of a range of fruits and vegetables.

Sabrina Maestri, Children’s Education Manager, WCRF, Andy Wilks - Press and PR Programme Manager,World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF UK), 22 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3HH

Get baking for a good cause

IT’S National Baking Week and thanks to The National Autistic Society’s FestiviTea campaign, baking can also be a way to rally together in your local community and make a difference for people affected by autism.

We are asking people to get inspired and start planning their very own FestiviTea cake and tea party in aid of autism for this upcoming festive period.

FestiviTea Parties are a wonderful way to help by raising money for an excellent cause and at the same time having a great time with friends and family.

Jane Asher,


The National Autistic Society