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Plans to close children's centres in Kent are 'not a done deal'

Kent County Council has to save two hundred and forty million pounds. It says cuts by central Government leave it no choice. Today councillors met in Maidstone to consider areas where cutbacks could be made.

But as Andrea Thomas reports, any choice they make will be unpopular with some taxpayers. And noisy demonstrators fighting plans to close children's centres were there to make their voices heard.

She spoke to some of those demonstrators and Jenny Whittle, cabinet member for children's services at Kent County Council.

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Children centres planned closures causes protests

Save Kent Children Centres Campaign has begun today, with protesters staging a demonstration after Kent County Council announced that 23 children centres may have to close.

The following Children Centres are earmarked for closure:

  • Ashford- Cherry Blossom and Squirrel Lodge
  • Canterbury- Apple Tree, Briary, Little Bees, Swalecliffe and Tina Rintoul
  • Dartford- Maypole
  • Dover- The Buttercup, The Daisy and Primrose
  • Gravesham- Daisy Chains and Little Painters
  • Maidstone- Loose and Marden
  • Sevenoaks- Dunton Green and Merry-Go Round
  • Shepway- New Romney, The Village or Folkestone Early Years
  • Swale- St Mary's and Woodgrove
  • West Kent- Hadlow/East Peckham, Larkfield and Pembury

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  1. Christine Alsford

Have you heard of teeth varnishing?

Thousands of school children are having their teeth painted with fluoride as part of a scheme to tackle poor dental health.

In total 17 schools and nurseries are taking part in Portsmouth - where rates of decay are well above the national average.

Half of all children have damaged teeth by the time they start school - and three quarters of the decay goes untreated.

But the fluoride varnish treatment isn't without its opponents. Our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford reports from an infants school where dozens of children have been treated for the first time.

New vaccine to give 'greater protection'

Doctors at Southampton General Hospital are trialling a new four-part vaccine to protect children from the flu virus. It is hoped the new vaccine will be more effective in combatting the illness.

"The quadrivalent influenza vaccine should give greater protection against the circulating flu viruses compared to the three strain version we have used in the past, but we need the help of parents to ensure we recruit quickly and complete the study vaccines before the main flu season starts."

– Dr Saul Faust, a specialist in children's immunology and infectious diseases

New flu vaccine trials get underway

Southampton General Hospital Credit: Meridian

A 'four-part' vaccine that could offer children much greater protection against flu viruses is being trialled at Southampton General Hospital.

Doctors are investigating the effectiveness of the quadrivalent influenza vaccine - the first to cover four different types of flu virus.

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