A GROUP has decided to take action against government budget cuts.

The community organisation held it’s inaugural meeting on Thursday last week.

Around 20 people attended the Defend Our Community Services (DOCS) meeting at Priestwood Community Centre to discuss how the government budget cuts will come into effect in October and how that will affect local services. They also discussed how these can be protected.

Newly elected chairperson, Terry Pearce, said: “We want to be a broad, democratic and effective group that involves people from all areas of the community. We are trying to be in a position of readiness for when cuts start coming down the road - which they will do come October - so that we can campaign against them.

“DOCS has been born out of a group of people in Bracknell who are very concerned about cuts to the services in our community. For example a lot of elderly people are worried about losing their winter fuel allowance and bus passes because they rely on them.” The group discussed a number of specific issues including the fear that cuts would see mental health facilities move from Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot to Prospect Park Hospital in Reading which would not be as easily accessible to Bracknell residents.

Concern was also raised over the fact that Bracknell Forest Council will be ending the free swimming scheme for young and elderly people at a time when members of the public are being encouraged to become more active.

The group also considered whether it would focus its efforts nationally by petitioning the government, or whether it would focus locally by offering support to services that ran into trouble. Discussion on this matter will continue but it was agreed that clarity on this point is essential.

At the meeting the group also discussed its constitution, which will be agreed upon at the next meeting, and elected committee members. Lorna Cameron was elected vice chairperson and treasurer will be Val Pearce.

The positions of press officer and secretary will be held temporarily by Terry Pearce and Ed Glasson respectively until members are chosen at the next meeting, which has been scheduled for November 4.