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Crawley Council’s embarrassing U-turn after trying to charge fee for kids to walk through park

Plans for a schools charity walk almost had to be changed after council wanted to charge for walking through a park.

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Every year the students and staff at Ifield Community College take part in a sponsored walk to raise money.

It is called the Sarah Robinson Commemorative Sponsored Walk and takes the school from their site through to Tilgate Park and then back to the school.

This year however the school hit a problem. After informing the council of their route they were then presented with a fee.

The Council wanted to charge a fee of £234.50 to allow the school through Tilgate Park.

Immediately alarm bells rang and the school hit out questioning why such a charge was being applied and that it would have to come out of the funds raised by the students and affect the charity.

More questions were raised when Tilgate Councilor Francis Guidera stepped in after hearing about the issue and it was discovered that other activities such as the regular Sunday Park Run never gets charged by the council.

ICC put out a public statement on their facebook page explaining the situation and adding:

“We strongly believe this is very uncharitable and so therefore are looking into changing our walk.”

But local Cllr Guidera would not accept the decision of the council and took it upon himself to get it changed, even adding:

In one response to the schools post he said:

“I have spoken the Leader of the Council, Peter Lamb, with whom I get on well despite our political differences, and explained that the council does not charge Tilgate Park Run for the use of the park EVERY WEEKEND and that it is completely unacceptable to charge our own children to use a public park!!!”

The issue started to viral across social media through the town and the tension with residents around this grew steadily until finally the councillors efforts came to fruition as a post from Crawley Borough Council appeared as a response to ICC 7 hours after theirs.

It read:

“We have looked at this again and, while we have applied our policy correctly, we recognise that it does not necessarily cater for events such as this.

We have therefore taken the decision not to apply any charge for this event on this occasion. We will now reconsider our fees and charging policy for events to ensure a consistent and fair approach can be applied moving forward.”

An embarrassing u-turn but it has done more than question certain decisions the council make. To many it will actually demonstrate just how effective the community and their local councillors can be.

Leader of Crawley Borough Council Peter Lamb said:

“As soon as the issue was raised with me I ensured it was dealt with. Policies sometimes have unintended consequences and part of the role of councillors is to step in when that happens, which is what we’ve done here.”

Charity

Crawley MP wears it pink for Breast Cancer Now

Henry Smith MP added a dash of pink to his usual attire in support of Breast Cancer Now’s Wear It Pink fundraiser, which takes place on Friday 18th October.

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Since launching in 2002, Wear It Pink has raised over £33 million to date. Henry is calling on Crawley residents to join him and sign up for Wear It Pink to help to make possible life-saving breast cancer research and life-changing support for those affected by the disease.

Henry said;

“Every year in the UK, around 55,000 women and around 350 men are given the devastating news that they have breast cancer.

“This is why I urge everyone in Crawley to take part in Breast Cancer Now’s Wear It Pink day on Friday 18th October. 

“The money raised by this wonderful event has such a huge impact, allowing Breast Cancer Now to fund vital research and support for those living with a diagnosis. I hope that everybody will Wear It Pink this October and support this very important cause.”

Anyone can take part in Wear It Pink. Some people will choose to hold a cake sale, while others will opt to organise a raffle and some will arrange a pink fancy dress day at their school or workplace. No matter how people chose to Wear It Pink, all the money raised will help to fund vital breast cancer research and support.

Baroness Morgan, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, commented;

“Breast cancer still affects so many of us, and our goal as a charity is that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and be supported to live well. The money raised from Wear It Pink is so crucial to helping us to fund vital breast cancer research and support for those affected by the disease.

“We hope that by wearing pink, Henry Smith MP will encourage more people to Wear It Pink on 18th October and help us to continue to fund vital breast cancer research and support.”

Joining Henry on the day were four Breast Cancer Now supporters who have been affected by breast cancer, including Kate, from Worthing, who was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2015.

She said;

“When I was diagnosed my world turned up-side down. Secondary breast cancer means that it has spread to other parts of the body, making it incurable – but for me it’s treatable for some time. It’s truly incredible how breast cancer treatments have advanced over the years and it really gives me hope for the future.

“It is so important that we continue to raise money, so that nobody will lose their lives to this devastating disease in the future. This is why I’m calling for everyone to take a stand against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Now’s Wear It Pink on Friday 18th October. It’s a great way of raising vital funds for breast cancer research for the future, and care for those affected by the disease now.”

In April 2019, Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now merged to create the UK’s first comprehensive breast cancer charity, united around the shared ambition that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and be supported to live well. Every Wear It Pink donation will help towards this goal.

Wear It Pink on 18th October and raise funds for breast cancer research and support. Visit www.wearitpink.org/mp to register and claim your free fundraising pack.

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