Devizes MP Claire Perry says she will fight to replace the £10,000 cut in funding that is threatening the work of the Devizes Opportunity Centre.

Mrs Perry, who has visited the centre, said she had been unaware of the Government’s grant cut until she read about it in last week’s Gazette.

She said: “I think the opportunity centre does fabulous work and I will be investigating exactly what has happened.

“We have to find a way of getting this money replaced either by Wiltshire Council or by central Government.”

Wiltshire Council cut £10,000 of funding for Devizes Opportunity Centre and three other specialist nurseries in the county after the Government took away grant money from its Aiming High For Disabled Children initiative.

She said: “I had not heard about this grant before so I need to look into it and find out why this has happened.”

Meanwhile, Devizes Opportunity Centre manager Betty Newman is delighted that the Gazette’s appeal is not just helping to replace the money lost by the grant cut but is also letting more people in Marlborough know about its work.

She said: “Many people in Devizes have heard of the opportunity centre even if they don’t know exactly what we do. We are closely linked with health professionals at the Royal United Hospital in Bath and they refer families to us.

“But Marlborough comes under Swindon and the doctors and other specialists there do not refer children in the same way, so parents don’t always get to hear about us.

“I am sure there are lots more families in Marlborough and Pewsey that we could help.

“Obviously this would put even more pressure on us financially but all I really care about is helping the families who need us most, so if we suddenly get lots of people coming forward from Marlborough we will find a way to help them.”

She said last week’s story in the Marlborough edition of the Gazette about three-year-old Paddy Kerin had helped highlight the centre’s work.

Mrs Newman said: “His mum Julia came in very excited and told me that lots of people had stopped her to talk about it.”

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