Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/630/9869
Fighting cuts in Nottingham: Save the WAP day centre
This year's Times Rich List revealed that the combined wealth of the richest 1,000 people rose by £77.3 billion. Zenn Athar gets angry when he hears this. The 19-year-old is the vice chairman of the West Area Project (WAP), a Nottingham day centre that helps adults with learning difficulties.
Ruairķ Creaney, Nottingham Socialist Party
The centre is expected to close its doors this month as Nottingham city council is unable to come up with the £32,000 to keep it open.
The centre, which opened in 1984, is run by a committee of volunteers and aims to help its service users integrate into society by teaching them vital life skills such as cooking, reading and writing.
Along with the occasional small grant, the centre relies on annual council funding of £32,659 per year. "That used to only be 70% of what we got," said Zenn.
"We received the other 30% from the county council, but that funding was cut a few years ago when the Conservatives gained control. Now the city council wants to cut the rest."
The service's users are all over the age of 18 and suffer from a wide range of conditions including Asperger's Syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and severe autism.
In the middle of March the council gave the West Area Project 90 days notice that it planned to end its funding. "The news came as a shock to everyone involved at the centre. We informed the service users last week and they are all devastated. There was a very sombre mood in the place. There were people in tears."
Moving the goalposts
The city council originally stated that it was a lack of finances that led to the decision to cut funding. However, two weeks ago the group was told by the council that their premises does not comply with the Disability Discrimination Act as the three storey building lacks an upstairs fire escape or a lift for physically impaired people.
Zenn has not accepted this as the main reason for their decision. He said: "They seem to be looking for any excuse to close us down. This was only brought up recently."
The leader of Nottingham city council, Jon Collins, met Zenn and others involved with the West Area Project last month in an attempt to reach an agreement, but to no avail. However, a source at the council slammed the decision to end funding for the project and rubbished the claims that there was no money.
Part of a Nottingham Socialist Party meeting was shown in a 10pm BBC News report on 16 June about the growing opposition to public sector cuts and plans for action against them.
The report from the BBC One programme can be viewed at www.socialistworld.net/index.php/4356
In The Socialist 23 June 2010:
Youth fight for jobs
National Shop Stewards Network
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis