PARENTS are fighting plans to drastically cut the opening hours of a community centre in an area that was singled out as the UK's most deprived.

Glasgow City Council is understood to be considering a 30% reduction in the operating times of the Ashgill Recreation Centre in Milton, known locally as the Arc, which provides after-school activities for around 90 children and young people every day.

The council’s cross-party group budget working group is due to meet next Thursday and the proposal could form part of a major city-wide plan to save £50million.

Research published last year by Liverpool University named the Canal ward, which takes in Milton, as the most deprived area in the UK from 1971 and 2011.

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The Arc, which also has a gym and cafe, is currently open Tuesday till Friday from 9am to 9pm and Saturday from 9am to 5pm and runs specific groups for families facing financial hardship including a holiday hunger scheme.

According to staff, under the proposals the Arc will close on a Tuesday and operate from Wednesday till Friday from 12pm to 8pm. Local people say the centre has been repeatedly targeted for cuts in recent years.

Sophia Miller, whose son Riley uses the centre, said: “This is the last thing they should cutting. It’s very much needed.

“There’s nothing else like it in the area, we don’t even have a playpark.”

Her son Riley added: “It’s fun and somewhere safe to play.”

Christine Donnelly, of the Arc Steering Group, said: “The cuts they are proposing would be a big change for us.

“At the minute the centre is so busy with around 50 primary school kids from 3pm till 6pm and 40+ teenagers from 6 till 9 each day.

“If the hours where to change where would these kids go?

“Milton is a very deprived area and this is only safe place for kids to be instead of wandering streets.

“There is also all the gym users who use it daily and the groups who use it during the day as well as a care which is rented so the owner if this will lose out too.”

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A petition opposing the plan has been launched on Change.Org, which has been backed by more than 200 people.

The centre runs a number of programmes and projects including a Click and Connect learning centre, a soft play, under-fives area and is a venue for birthday parties.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: “Glasgow City Council will need to make budget savings which could be in the region of £50 million.

“The cross party budget working group asked officers for savings options.

“All parties have received the same information and they will present their budgets at a meeting on February 20th.”