Campaign launched to save children’s centre
ACAMPAIGN has been launched against plans to axe a ‘vital’ children’s centre in one of the town’s most disadvantaged areas.
Cheshire East Council wants to shut four of its 11 children’s centres – including one in Broken Cross – to save cash.
Instead, parents in need of advice and support in the Weston, Upton Priory and Broken Cross will have to attend either Hurdsfield or Ash Grove children centres, or use a new mobile service.
The council is consulting on the proposals until February 12. Parents have launched a campaign to prevent the closure and are lobbying local councillors and MP David Rutley.
A petition launched earlier this month has attracted almost 650 supporters, while a Facebook group ‘Save Broken Cross children’s centre’ has almost 1,400 members.
Mum-of-one Joanna Hillsdon, 29, of Bostock Road, Weston, is leading the campaign.
She said: “The centre has been an absolutely vital support for hundreds of parents in one of the most disadvantaged areas of Macclesfield.
“Kids don’t come with a handbook, so the advice and support on offer to parents there is invaluable. Expecting parents to travel two miles to Ash Grove or almost three miles to Hurdsfield is crazy. Closure of the centre in Broken Cross will completely isolate parents in this area. This will have a detrimental effect on the children.”
Nick Mannion, Labour councillor for Macclesfield West and Ivy ward, said: “This is a vital resource which - in light of the ongoing cuts - is needed now more than ever.” The three other children’s centres facing the axe are in Knutsford, Nantwich Rural and Sand- bach. The council says frontline staff will be redeployed to other centres.
Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member for children and families said: “Like many authorities, we are forced to make some tough spending decisions.
“There is a consultation process in place and we will take on board the feedback that we receive.
“I would emphasise there is scope for flexibility and the council is working with local health providers and schools to develop a plan to deliver children’s centre services to the most vulnerable families, together with other alternatives including a mobile service especially in remote, rural areas.”
To have your say, visit the council website and search ‘consultations’, email RandC@ cheshireeast.gov.uk, or write to Research and Consultation, Cheshire East Council, Westfields, Sandbach, CW11 1HZ.
Joanna Hillsdon with son Lawrence, two; Below, protesters gather outside Broken Cross Children’s Centre