Family contact ‘lifeline’ may go

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Spalding could lose its family contact centre unless funds and volunteers are found to help a new charity to run it.

The part-time service in The Ivo Day Centre, in Albion Street, has been run for more than ten years by St John Ambulance and it allows families suffering break-ups or other problems to have contact with their children in a neutral setting.

But St John is pulling the plug on the centre at the end of this year, along with three others in Grantham, Skegness and Gainsborough.

The Spalding family contact centre co-ordinator Katie Wright faces redundancy at the end of the year.

Mrs Wright said St John wants to concentrate “on their core business, which is first aid training”.

She said a steering committee is forming a new charity to try to keep the centres open and some funds have been found.

Volunteers are also being asked to step forward to offer advice and support to the committee in roles like secretary and treasurer and to help run the fortnightly Saturday morning sessions.

Mrs Wright said: “If you were to ask a family lawyer, they would say the centre is a lifeline for some families – it’s just a venue that people can go to and see their child.”

Family lawyer Anita Toal, from Spalding solicitors Maples, said it will have “a devastating impact on local families” if the Spalding contact centre closes as it is a lifeline for some parents who want to see their children.

Mrs Toal said: “I think there is one contact centre in Lincoln that doesn’t come under St John, but that’s obviously too far for the families in Sutton Bridge, and there’s one at Peterborough, but that’s going to have a massive waiting list.”

l For more information – or if you are interested in joining the committee or volunteering at the centre – please email or call Paula Gale on 07770 892287.

For committee roles an interest in and knowledge of funding applications, family law, child law and early years’ background may be of benefit but is not essential.