Children’s care home in Kirkby put on ice after protests

HOME GUARD -- protesters gather outside the house on Diamond Avenue, Kirkby that had been earmarked for a children's home.
HOME GUARD -- protesters gather outside the house on Diamond Avenue, Kirkby that had been earmarked for a children's home.

Protesters in Kirkby have won a temporary reprieve in their fight to stop plans for a children’s care home on a residential street.

The plans were unveiled last month by the private company G4S, who wanted to turn a house on Diamond Avenue into a five-bedroom home for youngsters, aged ten to 17.

However, furious neighbours were up in arms, claiming the home would bring “chaos and disruption”. Now, G4S has backed down, withdrawing the scheme to carry out more talks with the residents.

“It is clear we have not yet secured the support or understanding of local people close to the home we propose,” said Matt Magee, of G4S. “We are immensely proud of the work we do for children on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council and look forward to discussing it in more detail.”

G4S is helping the council find new sites for homes for youngsters described as some of the most vulnerable in the county.

“In 2014, 1,415 young people, whose parents are unable to look after them for a wide variety of reasons, were in care in Nottinghamshire and Nottingham,” said Mr Magee.

“We have been working hard to identify sites for homes in safe residential areas that allow children the chance to maintain vital contact with existing family and friends in places they are familiar with.

“The home at Kirkby would hold a maximum of five children, supported by a team of 13 professionals who would provide the kind of educational and developmental support of a normal family home.”

However, the protesters launched a petition that now has several hundred signatures, and they also stormed council offices.

“If the home is passed, we will have unruly youngsters in the area,” said campaign leader Kevin Walker. “It would be a nightmare, and we don’t want it here.”