Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Monday, 29 June 2009 14:47 UK

Playground's hope after new offer

The Venture
The Venture is hoping to secure funding from other sources

A play scheme on a deprived estate may be saved from closure after an eleventh-hour "revised" funding offer .

Management at the Venture, in Caia Park, Wrexham, had said the centre would close within days due to council funding cuts.

However, the management committee said the council had now approved changes which "may significantly improve the situation for its future".

Wrexham council said progress had been made on "terms and conditions".

The play scheme had issued a statement saying there was "no reasonable alternative, as things stand, but to close the Venture".

This is good news for the residents of Caia Park as the progress should result in the Venture remaining open
Wrexham Council

A statement said the council had "refused to extend the Venture's funding until alternative arrangements could be developed and put in place".

However, a fresh statement was issued on Monday, saying: "Officers of the management committee are pleased to say that we learnt late on Friday that the council are in the process of making a revised offer which may significantly improve the situation regarding the future of the Venture.

"We understand that the leader of the council has approved the proposed changes and we now need to see the details.

"There are also other significant changes in the pipeline regarding personnel, funding and legal issues which we will be clearer about over the next few days."

Malcolm King, Venture founder, at a protest
Supporters have held several protests outside Wrexham council

It said a meeting scheduled for Wednesday had been brought forward to Tuesday evening "in the hope that it can reverse its decision of last week to reluctantly close, at least on a temporary basis, on 1 July".

Clare Field, Wrexham's chief prevention and inclusion officer, said: "Officers from Wrexham County Borough Council have been working with the Venture management committee over many months in order to ensure that the Venture does not close.

"Progress has been made on the terms and conditions relating to the transitional funding available for the Venture.

"This does not involve providing the Venture with any additional funding above that which has already been offered by the Council.

"This is good news for the residents of Caia Park as the progress should result in the Venture remaining open and will ensure an increased range of additional services for the children and families of Caia Park."

The scheme has been running for almost 31 years and was once chosen as a model for other children's centres.

It was set up in 1978, and its management claim it has helped reduce the juvenile crime rate in the area by half.

The project was chosen by the assembly government in 2003 as the model for its flagship programme of integrated children's centres, now rolled out across Wales.

However, the threat of closure came after Wrexham Council revealed plans to cut funding by 70% and put more cash into other projects in the area.

The Venture's management committee had said it was "reluctantly" pursuing legal action to persuade the council to change its mind.

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