Cardenden after school club stays open after U-turn

Parents Iona Mitchell and Allison Ballard. Pic credit: Fife Photo Agency.
Parents Iona Mitchell and Allison Ballard. Pic credit: Fife Photo Agency.

Two Cardenden mums have praised a decision to keep an after school club open after the facility was threatened with closure last week.

Iona Mitchell faced dropping out of her college course and Allison Ballard would have had to quit her job if Cardenden after school club was shut.

It is understood the Carden Avenue facility was one of a number of after school clubs in Fife under threat of closure as it was considered not sustainable due to the small numbers using it.

But after a meeting was held on Monday morning between local councillor Linda Erskine, local authority joint leaders David Ross and David Alexander; Carrie Lindsay, executive director for education and Fay Sincliar, spokesperson for education, it was agreed that existing arrangements will continue until the end of June.

A final decision on whether to close any clubs will be taken by councillors and officers before the end of the summer term.

Iona Mitchell (24), who lives in Craigside Road, has two boys Kinnon (6) and Brody (3). Her oldest son attends the club at Cardenden Primary.

Iona, who is studying Higher maths, english and psychology at Fife College, said: “It provides me with after school care as I have no family available to help as they work. Without it I couldn’t go to college or even work. The college even pays for it. It’s a godsend.”

Allison Ballard (30) works full time as a recruitment partner and her son Tiernan (6) goes to the after school club.

Allison, who also lives in Craigside Road, said: “I moved to Cardenden with no connections or family. Without this club I would be forced to leave work. I am absolutely delighted they are keeping it open until the summer at least. It means that, for now, I won’t be out of a job. I’m really hopeful they will keep it open after the summer too.”

Councillor Linda Erskine, who represents Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty, said: “Education identified a number of school clubs which were not sustainable in terms of existing numbers. I expressed concerns the after school club in Cardenden hadn’t been given time to grow as it has only been running since last Easter.

“After a lengthy discussion we agreed the existing arrangements will continue till at least the end of June.”

She added: “I would urge more parents to utilise the club to ensure we can continue to provide a service to allow parents to work and study at affordable rates.”

Carol Notman, team manager, Fife Childcare Services, Fife Council, said: “No after school clubs will be closing before the end of the school year.

“We regularly look at our services across Fife to review demand and viability. We can’t afford to run services that aren’t used, but where there’s proven demand we will continue, or even open, services.

“We will be speaking to the parents of all children using the out of school clubs identified for potential closure to see what alternative childcare options are available to them. The final decision on whether to close any clubs will be taken before the end of the summer term.”