Time to devise system of funding fairness

EDITOR – I would like to draw attention to unfairness in the distribution of sparse funding for children’s activities in the Caistor and Market Rasen area.

I am a mother of two young children, one who now receives 15 hours’ early years funding for three-four-year-olds, and one who is four months old.

I attend various groups in the Caistor and Market Rasen area to assist my children in becoming pleasant and sociable individuals with good communication skills.

One group, Tots on Tour, is a privately-funded group which my daughter attended and I would wish for my son to also take advantage of their excellent educational development group activity.

However, funding for such groups is now limited and a cost of £4-£4.50 for a weekly 30-60-minute session is now payable.

The group in Market Rasen is fully funded, whereas the group in Caistor is charged at the aforementioned rate.

Surely, this inequity cannot continue especially as Caistor missed out on a purpose-built children’s centre whereas Market Rasen has such a facility.

It appears that a postcode lottery is dividing the opportunities available to children who reside within the same county and district council.

I do not feel that the groups should be completely free as parents need to contribute to their children’s development. However, a fairer system would be to introduce a charge for everyone, thus curtailing the costs to a more manageable and justifiable amount of £2-£2.50 per session.

Indeed, this subsidy did exist between January and July 2011. For those who require financial assistance, means testing could be a system which still maintains fairness and ensures equal opportunities for all.

I would like to pass on my gratitude to the Tots on Tour staff who appreciate the situation with the funding and are also trying to resolve this matter on behalf of parents.

Sarah Smith

Lincoln Drive, Caistor