SUMMER SCHEME PETITION LAUNCHED

ALMOST 200 parents have signed a petition to bring back the summer scheme in Dromore.

One Dromore mother contacted the Leader to say she has been inundated with phonecalls from parents angry that the annual summer scheme has been cancelled across all three of the district’s leisure centres.

Meanwhile Councillor Carol Black has said that she will hold a public meeting in Dromore Community Centre next Tuesday at 7.30pm to address the situation.

Fiona Dickson, a mother-of-two whose children have previously attended the council-run schemes, said she felt she had to do something to register her disappointment at their cancellation.

“The council have taken this decision without speaking to local parents to see what they want,” said Fiona. “And they have cancelled a supervised scheme and put in place an unsupervised pound week scheme which, in my view, is just not good enough.”

Fiona said fellow parents had contacted her to say they were dissatisfied by the new services, which will run throughout the summer at all three leisure centres.

“We are not asking for this to be a babysitting service,” she said. “But it does fill part of the day and for myself and other parents who work it is a great facility to have in place.

“My kids really enjoyed it in previous years and I am sorry to see it cancelled.”

But the council’s Director of Community and Enterprise said a trial scheme last year proved the pound week service, where each child pays £1 per session at the leisure centre, to be much more popular with parents.

Catrina Regan, who confirmed the summer scheme could not be reinstated this year, said, “We found that the few weeks during which the pound week scheme ran last year were very popular.” While admitting that the council had received a small number of phonecalls from parents concerned at the summerscheme’s cancellation, Ms Regan said she was confident the district’s children will be provided with the same level of service as in previous years.

“I think parents will find that £1 for a session is a very affordable cost,” she said. “For activities like swimming and football we have an idea of numbers that will be interested.

“And if it is supervised activities that parents are after for their children there are lots of activities that will be run throughout the summer.”

Fiona urged any local parents who are still concerned with the new arrangements to sign the petitions which are available at Graham’s Newsagent, Eclipse Hairdressers and Dromore Meats.