According to Swindon’s Labour councillors, the council says financial pressures are forcing them to review the provision of children’s centre services. Among savings being proposed for the 2016/17 budget is the decommissioning of the five remaining children’s centres.
A closure consultation exercise is due to end on the 21 January.
A very recent government report on Children’s Centres says: ‘We have identified a number of significant but relatively small positive effects in promoting better outcomes for each user group considered (child, mother, and families), and the number of significant effects identified was more than might be anticipated by chance from the number of measures tested. Taken together, they confirm that engagement with children’s centres can promote better outcomes especially in terms of family functioning measures.’
Councillor Fay Howard, who is also a student health visitor and Ward Councillor for the Goddard Park Children’s Centre in Parks, which is slated for closure, said: “I want to urge everyone who has ever used a children’s centre or who knows someone who has, to complete the Council’s consultation. I have written to David Cameron and Robert Buckland asking for their support. A few years ago David Cameron wrote to his local council asking them not to close the Children’s Centres in his Oxfordshire constituency of Witney.
“As a student health visitor I am very aware that health visitors will not be able to take the place of Children’s Centres which offer support above and beyond anything the health visiting service can do. Children’s centres began as ‘Sure start’ centres in the late 1990’s to give children the best possible start in life by improving childcare, health and the family support services available.
The positive impact of children’s centres has been felt by a generation and will be gone all too soon. The Conservatives continue to hit the most vulnerable, removing available support at the time families need it most when children are very small and a parent is off work to care for their child.”
Please contact Fay on Fayhoward@live.co.uk to get involved in the campaign.
complete the online consultation http://swindon.gov.uk/childrenscentres