A CHARITY that provides services to 750 disabled children across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot has been dealt a second funding blow in just a few months — and says it will now be forced to close even earlier.
Interplay, which celebrates its 25th birthday this year, was set up to create supported summer play schemes for children with special needs.
The service was first put at risk when Neath Port Talbot Council withdrew its core funding to the group as part of £17.3 million savings drive following significant budget cuts. Now the charity has been told it will also see a funding cut from Swansea Council as well.
John Thomas, manager of Interplay, based on Walter Road in Swansea, said he received a letter last week to say the £59,000 it currently received from the city council, would be cut to £32,000.
Interplay was getting £31,860 a year from Neath Port Talbot Council, but all that money has been scrapped as part of saving measures.
The charity was previously looking at November for closing, but the second financial cut means it looks like they will now close even earlier in October.
"It's a real shame as we have a number of new projects starting," said Mr Thomas.
"We have been told we have funding from a number of charities, but it is reliant on the funding from the council being received.
"Without our core funding, we won't secure that and won't be able to keep putting the service on."
A spokesman for Swansea Council said the authority was dealing with an "extremely challenging time" while it tried to make £45 million in savings over the next three years.
"As part of these savings, we have reduced our annual core grant funding to Interplay, but we're still providing £32,000 a year," he said.
However, he added the authority had also agreed to provide the charity with an additional £6,000 to help them over the next 12 months.
"Our officers and representatives of the Swansea Council for Voluntary Services will also continue to work very closely with Interplay to help them explore how they can reduce their running costs and best go about applying for other external grant funding in future," added the spokesman.
"We're very committed to play opportunities for all children and families in Swansea.
"This is identified as a key priority in our play strategy and is reflected by our budget for play opportunities for disabled children being unchanged for the current financial year compared with last year."