A call has been made for continued support to out of school care schemes whose start-up costs have been funded by a Government initiative but which in the long term must survive on parents' fees.
Gil Scott, senior lecturer in sociology at Glasgow Caledonian University, told the Scottish Out of School Care Network in Glasgow on Monday that the initiative had been a "shot in the arm" with the number of schemes rising from 165 to nearly 400 in two years. But a third "had concerns about their future viability either due to low demand or inability to raise fees".
Seventy per cent of funding had gone to comparatively affluent areas. The fact that there were any schemes at all in poorer areas was due to "the existence of previously established networks of urban aid-funded projects".
Cutbacks in local government finance will also have an impact, Paul Williamson, vice-chair of Edinburgh's education committee, said. "Our support for subsidised places is likely to be reduced by a half per club. This will create particular difficulties in areas of deprivation," Mr Williamson warned.
The break up of regional authorities into a large number of smaller authorities was also creating difficulties. "In the Lothians we are already finding it difficult to keep up strong links with voluntary organisations, to maintain a strategic role, and levels of staffing and expertise," Mr Williamson said.