Brooke Farm to survive cuts axe

A LIFELINE horticultural project for adults with learning difficulties in Linby will stay open, despite the pressure of spending cuts, it has been promised.

Brooke Farm (pictured), on Main Street, has been running since 1981. It specialises in working with adults with special needs who grow and sell fruit, vegetables and plants and run a small shop.

Fears over its future arose after Notts County Council disclosed it needed to make savings totalling £12 million — on top of tens of millions of pounds it already needs to shave from its budgets because of government cuts.

Part of the proposals include a probe of horticultural work and training services for adults. This section is subject to an independent three-month review, which will end in January.

However the Dispatch has learned that while Brooke Farm might change the way it works, it is safe from the axe.

Instead it is proposed to be just one of two sites within the service — the other being at Skegby — that survives.

Those based at other projects will be transferred, with the county council suggesting that free transport could be provided.

Coun Bob Brothwell, chairman of Linby Parish Council, said: “We consider Brooke Farm and its clients as part of our community.

“We have always said that we would fight on its behalf if it ever came under threat. It is great to hear that it should survive the latest cuts.”

Notts County Council is faced with finding total savings of £70 million over the next two years. It says £37 million of this will be re-invested in frontline services.

Of the new £12 million worth of savings proposals, £5.2 million is hoped to be made by reducing costs and streamlining the way the council works.

Coun Reg Adair (Con), lead member for finance and property, said: “Prudent financial management and taking a long-term view have put us in a strong position.

“We are seeing positive changes which are making the council a more efficient and business-like organisation. We are making savings in some areas of the council to invest and meet demand in social care for adults and children.”

He added: “We continue to protect frontline services as much as possible by being creative and coming up with proposals which make the best use of our resources.” — DISPIC NHUD11-2959-1.