Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham lent his support to the fight to keep open Salford’s only residential home for disabled children.

The Save The Grange campaign, which originally started in 2013, was set up to fight Salford City Council’s bid to shut The Grange. Reasoning for the closure was put down to the council wanting to make £16 million in budget cuts with the closure potentially saving £300,000.

Proposed plans involve children at The Grange who are over the age of 14 being moved to Granville Adult Facility in Eccles and children under 14 moved to foster carers, an idea that has sparked outrage from parents of children who use the facility.

A woman, who did not wish to be named, with a child who uses the services of The Grange said, “I rely on this service as much as it is – I am able to spend precious time with my child before I must head to work myself by taking her to The Grange. If she has to go elsewhere I will have to pay a service to take her elsewhere.”

If The Grange were to close Salford City Council could no longer keep the children in the borough as there is no other provision within Salford.

Andy Burham, speaking to The Salford Star at a Hustings event organised by the National Autistic Society before he was elected said, “the new elected Mayor would not be able to reverse any decision that a local council had already made but would be able to explore alternative ways to make savings to the budget” she added, “Andy also said that to move children out of borough is unacceptable. If the home is to close then alternative arrangements should be found within the same borough.”

Ameen Hadi for Salford City UNISON, who represent the workers of The Grange, said “the council have tried saying that there is no demand for the services that The Grange provides, when the parents of potential clients have contacted The Grange managers have turned them away no longer accepting new children.”

“Following the budget decision that took place in December we put forward an idea of having a smaller unit; it would mean fewer clients and fewer staff but The Grange would remain open. At the initial consultation meeting they said they would get back to us about our ideas and we still haven’t heard back from them.”

Previously campaigners have handed out petitions at Salford City and Salford Red Devils football matches urging fans to support their fight to get Salford City Council to reverse the decision that was initially backed by then Salford Mayor Ian Stewart.

Saturday 27th May there is a public meeting to discuss the ongoing proceedings at Swinton Moorside Cricket Club at 10:30am.

By Kathryn Evans

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