This week at work I was engaged in responding to Budget Proposals around Adult Social Care. In doing some research and reading I came across a campaign urging me to respond to proposals around our local children’s centres. I have blogged about their importance before here.
The local campaign page can be found here:
- The proposed budget cuts may result in a 56% reduction in Gateshead Sure Start centre funding.
- If these cuts go ahead some of Gateshead Sure Start centres may be closed.
- It is not known yet what the criteria will be for closing centres; it may be down to areas of higher disadvantage or it may be down to current centre usage.
- Sure Start staff members may face disciplinary action if they help with this campaign.
You however, can help!
I was doing some further reading around policy and development this week for a secondment I applied for recently, more on that later, but I came across a great read arguing for longer term thinking about children’s services, you can read more here
This was my response on Facebook:
As their parents face cuts in other areas of their lives, job losses, reduced family budgets and increasing prices the idea of cutting their children’s opportunities to access play and learning facilities that support their development, whilst often supporting parents’ mental health and opportunities to engage with other parents is not a sustainable long term solution. Children’s Centres should be seen as a long term community asset, and other options for their future explored. As a new parent last year I was offered no antenatal classes, there were no support services for new parents, and I had three health visitors in six months. The Children’s Centre baby massage class was where I learned to parent, the sensory rooms provided free opportunities to talk to other new parents and the brilliant parent outreach workers provided a friendly welcome and sympathetic ear. I fear for new parents who couldn’t access these opportunities, there is very little available for under fives outside of them.
Please do respond to similar consultations in your own local authority areas and get involved in the debate about funding our children’s futures, its vital we speak up now before it’s too late.