Mums have set up a campaign group in Oxfordshire to save children's centres threatened with closure. Thirty-seven out of forty centres could close as part of budget cuts. The County Council needs to save £60 million, but parents say the centres are a vital part of the community.
Mother Emma Taylor doesn't agree with the closures.
1 in 4 children's centres in Kent is facing closure as County Hall tries to save one and a half million pounds. The centres offer child care services and advice to thousands of parents with children under five.
We spoke to one mother outside Marden Children's Centre, one of those under threat.
Gordon Henderson, the MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, has written to Kent County Council opposing the proposed closure of Woodgrove Children’s Centre in Sittingbourne, and a reduction in hours at Beaches and Lilypad Children’s Centres on Sheppey.
In a letter seen by ITV Meridian he says, the decision to close the centres in 'deeply flawed' and has raised concerns about the consequences it will have on 'vulnerable constituents.'
The suggestion that Woodgrove and Beaches do not serve areas in which children and families need early support services is bizarre. In fact, both areas contain many families who require support, not least because their children have special needs.
– GORDON HENDERSON MP
He also added:
The suggestion that Woodgrove is only 800 meters from Sittingbourne Library is laughable. It might be true if you are a bird, but most of the centre users are not crows, they are people, many of whom do not have their own transport!"
Kent County Council is planning to close 20 children's centres across the county.
The council says it needs to make savings and the closures will make savings of at least £1.5m.
The children's centres provide early childhood services and important support for parents and carers.
Kent council is launching a 12-week consultation today to get the views of local parents and the wider community who use the centres.
Kent County Council is committed to continuing to provide the services we currently offer through our Children's Centres and continuing to make a difference to the futures of families we help through those centres. We need to make efficiency savings and will seek to do this by minimising property and management costs."
– Jenny Whittle, Kent County Council cabinet member for specialist children's services