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Protests at planned closures of children's centres

Newcastle City Council is considering closing children's centres across the city as part of £40m of savings.

Sure Start centres have been running for over 15 years, and provide learning, health and childcare services for those with children up to five-years-old.

They're focussed on some of our most deprived areas, but are open to everyone.

Today, parents held a protest picnic to try and persuade the counsellors to change their mind.

But when challenged by ITV news, council leader Cllr Nick Forbes directed criticism at central government, saying he needed 'no convincing' Sure Start centres should stay.

Council supports Sure Start centres - but cuts must be made

The leader of Newcastle City Council said he needs 'no convincing' of the value of Sure Start children's centres, but reiterated that cuts must be made to balance the books next year.

Cllr Nick Forbes directed criticism over the proposed closures of two-thirds of the centres in the city towards central government.

The local authority must save £40m in government enforced cuts.

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Angry parents protest against Sure Start closure plans

Angry parents at a protest picnic against proposed closures of Sure Start children's centres.
Angry parents at a protest picnic against proposed closures of Sure Start children's centres. Credit: ITV News

Parents who are angry at proposed cuts to childcare and support services in some of Newcastle's most deprived areas have been taking part in a 'protest picnic'.

Government cuts may force Newcastle City Council to close two-thirds of Sure Start centres.
Government cuts may force Newcastle City Council to close two-thirds of Sure Start centres. Credit: ITV News

Newcastle Council say it may be forced to close two-thirds of the 20 Sure Start centres.

Families release balloons after the protest picnic in Newcastle.
Families release balloons after the protest picnic in Newcastle. Credit: ITV News

Council funding cuts confirmed

Councils across the region were told today the extent of overall cuts to funding for 2014/15.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles published the figures which showed an average cut of 2.9% across the country.

A spokesman for Newcastle Council said they were facing an overall cut to spending of 4.6% - more than ten million pounds - but that the news was what they expected.

Middlesbrough Council is facing a reduction of more than 5%.

Funding cuts to both councils are well above the national average.

ITV News Tyne Tees contacted all of our region's councils about the figures but many said it was too early to tell what the cuts meant for them.

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Council's campaign to support staff suffering domestic abuse

Newcastle City Council launches campaign to help staff who are suffering domestic abuse. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Newcastle City Council has launched a strategy to support staff who are suffering domestic abuse.

The council wants its managers to recognise the problem among colleagues and offer help. It is estimated that one in 10 working people suffers abuse.

The aim is to make the workplace a safe haven from violence suffered at home.

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