MP: ‘County Council are not listening’

ASHFIELD MP Gloria De Piero is continuing to support the Diamond Centre in Kirkby as it prepares to close its doors in less than three weeks time.

The popular centre on Diamond Avenue has served hundreds of men and women across the district over several years after the former Ashfield’s Women Centre was saved from closure by the North Nottinghamshire Independent Domestic Abuse Services (NNIDAS) in November 2009.

In the past, it has been estimated that around 250 women used the centre each week and up to 600 women and 280 children access it throughout the year.

But a series of cutbacks at local and national Government level has forced charity bosses to stop renting the building and Nottinghamshire County Council has confirmed it will be sold when NNIDAS vacate the premises on 31st March.

Miss De Piero, who has made several visits to the Diamond Centre, has raised the issue in the House of Commons as well as writing to Kay Cutts,the Conservative leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, to find out why the centre is being allowed to close.

“The women that I met at the Diamond Centre have received valuable help and support to gain skills, return to work and get their lives back on track, which will save the taxpayer in the long run, “ said Miss De Piero.

“I’m afraid for all the rhetoric of the Big Society from the Tory-Lib Dem Government in Westminster, when it comes to making decisions in our area the Conservatives in County Hall simply aren’t listening.

“I believe in a real big society and I’ll continue to fight for the local groups who are supporting our community and challenge the Tories’ damaging cuts.”

Coun Stuart Wallace, Nottinghamshire County Council’s deputy cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “NNIDAS runs a domestic violence project in Mansfield and Ashfield, which is supported by the county council through Grant Aid, Supporting People and the Community Safety budget.

“They also run community courses and free counselling services at the Diamond Centre in Kirkby and, for these services, NNIDAS has only ever received a one-off grant from the county council via the Safer Community Board to help them establish in the Ashfield area.

“NNIDAS used to receive money from several organisations, including the Big Lottery fund and Ashfield District Council, for the counselling service and community courses.

“These funding streams have now ceased and, as they have been unable to secure any other sustainable funding, NNIDAS now plan to move out of the Diamond Centre.

“This is despite the fact that the county council were providing the premise at a concessionary rate.”