CAMPAIGNERS are aiming to save key services as a Merseyside council gears up to slash its budget.
Among those urging Wirral council to think again is schoolboy Warren Ward, who is opposing plans to reduce the borough’s youth centres to four “main hubs”.
The 15-year-old is chairman of Bebington youth club and has collected a petition of more than 1,700 signatures in just over a month to save the club he attends in New Ferry.
Warren, from St John Plessington Catholic College, said: “Bebington youth club is 51 years old and I believe it’s the beating heart of New Ferry. Without it things will get worse.”
His petition was handed in to a meeting of Wirral’s full council at Wallasey town hall last night by local Labour councillor Steve Niblock, who said although no decision has yet been made, the threat of closure of the youth club had sparked a huge response from the community.
The petition is just one of many campaigns springing up as people become aware of how the council cuts will affect them.
Next Monday at a meeting of the budget cabinet, councillors will be making key decisions on the cuts to save £39m this year, part of £109million to be cut from the council budget over the next three years as the council struggles to set a “legal” budget.
Also trying to convince the council to think again about cuts to services helping the most vulnerable is Peter Linnane, whose son Mark, 30, has attended Heswall day centre for 11 years and fears for the future if it is closed.
The council says the day centres “need substantial investment [...] to an acceptable quality standard” and put forward two proposals, both of which would see one centre closed and mental health provision brought into another.
Mr Linnane and his wife Jeanette, from Bebington, are both retired and depend on the help the centre gives their son as well as the respite they both receive.
Mr Linnane said: “We think they have made their decision and are now just trying to justify why they are closing it. We know they say one of them must shut under these proposals but we don't want any of them to close.
“Heswall is the most prominent and the land there is probably the most valuable, but they provide a really good service. Mark is very vulnerable and it's a safe environment, the staff are very good to him.
“The staff are so caring and go beyond their ordinary duties. If one of the centres closes we would lose that. You cannot just get someone off the street and get that. It would be a travesty if we lost it.”
Mark's sister Heather said the Heswall day centre is able to deal with those who have complex needs and is a “lifeline” for Mark, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy.