A CENTRE that supports young children with special needs and a care home for disabled adults are the latest victims of swingeing funding cuts hitting the most vulnerable people in south Wiltshire.

Following last week’s announcement that the efforts of parents to save Hillcote, Salisbury’s only respite care home for children with severe disabilities had failed, it has now been confirmed that the city’s Douglas Arter Centre is to close at the end of the year, while the John McNeill nursery has had its funding slashed.

And the Journal is saying “enough is enough” as we launch our SOS: Save Our Services campaign.

Cuts in central Government funding are being passed on to the services in the city that protect and support those who need it most in our society, and it is feared more could be on the way as the economy struggles to recover.

The John McNeill Opportunity Centre, in Odstock Road, helps 60 children and has a waiting list of 15. It’s funding was slashed by £13,000 two years ago, and now it is set to lose another £10,000.

“The need is getting more as the money is getting less,” said manager Angela Bryant. “If we can't raise enough we'll have to cut spaces, which means there are going to be families that are not going to have anything.

“Most of the children at Hillcote came here and we have staff that also work at Hillcote - it just has a knock-on effect. The parents and the children need a break from home.

“These children need to be together, to socialise.”

And the Douglas Arter care home caters for disabled adults, many of whom can’t speak up for themselves and who have lived there for years.

“We know of no other suitable homes in the Salisbury area where the residents could live, and many have needs that are far too complex for them to be able to move home,” said Merrin Holroyd, whose husband Nick worked at the Douglas Arter Centre for seven years and whose daughter Megan attends a Scope-run day centre in Salisbury.

“They won't understand what is happening and why they have to move.”