Rally over planned closures of 35 children’s centres
CAMPAIGNERS protesting against the proposed closure of 35 children’s centres across Bucks will rally together outside County Hall, Aylesbury on Monday on the same day the decision will be sent to Cabinet.
Buckinghamshire County Council has proposed to introduce a new early help service, which could see 35 vital children’s centres across Bucks axed and replaced with nine hubs.
Campaigners are concerned closing the centres is just a cost-saving exercise which will adversely affect both parents and their children.
Save Buckinghamshire’s Children’s Centres Campaigners have been calling for the centres to remain open and for more money to be invested into them, so they can reach more parents and families as opposed to making unnecessary cuts of over £3 million.
Wycombe District Councillor, Andrea Baughan said: “The centres across the county do incredibly valuable work with families; offering opportunities for parents and children to learn, play, make friends and acquire new skills.
“Those who work in the centres are skilled and offer support, information and one to one work for parents facing difficulties with languages, domestic violence, first aid courses, breastfeeding support and advice.
“They also give advice on housing and finances, helping parents who may be suffering with post natal depression, anxiety and providing parenting skills.
“The centres are vital for our communities and I would not like to see them closed down.”
The recent Bucks County Council consultation received more than 2,000 responses.
A petition requesting all 35 centres stay open has received 2,344 signatures. This petition was sent to Buckinghamshire County Council before the consultation ended but it remains open and is continuing to attract more signatures every day
Campaigner and children’s centre user Alka Dass, said: “My 22 month old son and I have hugely benefitted from the children’s centres.
“I have benefited from parenting courses, support with healthy minds and my son has also received help with his speech. He has grown in confidence, met and learnt to interact with other children – this has all really helped his development. I would have been very lost without the centres and the support they provide and I also have made friends with mothers there.
“For a lot of families, these are not just children’s centres but the place communities of new families are created.
“We have all come together with one purpose and that is to keep the children’s centres open.
“We need to think about the future of our children – please come along and support us to stop the closure of the centres.”
Monday’s protest is open to anyone who would like to show their support from users of the centres: families, parents, grandparents, local residents or anyone who wants to keep the cen- tre’s open.
It will be a familyfriendly protest so children are welcome too.
In addition, further support has been provided by Wycombe Labour, who are gladly providing logistical support for the cross party ‘Save Buckinghamshire’s Children’s Centres’ Campaign.
Buses are being organised to take protestors to Aylesbury as well as lift shares to encourage more people to attend.
Khalil Ahmed, Chairman of Wycombe Labour Party, said: “The closures are a false economy – our only real investment in the future is our children.
“If happy, confident and creative youngsters aren’t available to run the future economy, then all our monetary savings will be to no avail.
“This is not a party political issue. We’ve been out on the streets talking to people with regards to closures close to where they live and there are many Conservative, Liberal Democrats, Green and UKIP supporters, as well as Labour voters and non-voters who are all equally angry about these proposed cuts and closures. If enough of us make enough noise we can stop these closures and show the rest of the country that in Buckinghamshire we still care about the next generation.”
All are invited to make a stand by protesting outside County Hall, Aylesbury on Monday November 13 from 10am-1pm.
Full details and further information will soon be on FB Group – savebuckinghamshireschildrenscentres.