Film star Nick Frost joins thousands of others in backing Save Meldreth Manor School campaign
- Credit: Archant
More than 4,000 people – including comedian and movie star Nick Frost – have signed a petition to save a much-loved special school and children’s home from closure.
Meldreth Manor School and Orchard Manor in Fenny Lane is run by disability charity Scope, and the board of trustees have proposed to close the school after it has continued to run at a substantial loss.
Yet members of the community, including staff and parents, have rallied together with the support of some celebrity names to keep the facility open.
Those who have signed the petition include Shaun of the Dead star Nick Frost, members of the band Erasure and Star Wars actor and television presenter Warwick Davis.
Matthew Jackson, who helped set up the campaign, said: “The next step is to try and convince either Scope or other care providers that there is a vital need for provision of services for severely disabled people.
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“Hearing the closure of Meldreth Manor has made us realise that there is nowhere for the young people to go.”
Susan van de Ven, who represents Meldreth on Cambridgeshire County Council, said the campaign group “goes to show the phenomenal respect for everyone associated with the school and transition service – staff, children and their families – and what Scope stands for in combining care, education and maximizing opportunity.”
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She added: “I was alarmed to learn the extent to which enrolment has dropped, reflecting a long term trend whereby local authorities seek to place severely disabled children in county-run special schools or even mainstream schools.
“In some ways this meets the original aims of Scope in the sense that society should be as inclusive as possible, however the result is an enrolment so low that the present situation is apparently financially impossible to sustain, and clearly Meldreth Manor still offers exactly the right environment for some children – and the transition service is an invaluable bridge to adulthood.
“What I would hope will happen now is that the consultation period will encourage very creative ideas to allow the school and transition service to continue in an adapted form.”
People should direct all feedback to project manager Kathryn Jefford at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07788 898083.