Nine Children’s Centres set to be closed by Suffolk County Council

The Conservative administration on Suffolk County Council has announced plans to close nine Children’s Centres across Suffolk, despite repeated promises they would not do so.

A report into the future of Children’s Centres has finally been released ahead of the County Council meeting to be held on the 17th July[1]. It reveals that the following children’s centres are due to be axed:

  • Brett River, Hadleigh;
  • Jigsaw, Thurston;
  • Meredith, Ipswich;
  • On Track, Haverhill;
  • Quayside, Ipswich;
  • Reydon and Southwold;
  • Roman Hill, Lowestoft;
  • Sea Breeze, Felixstowe; and
  • Woodlands, Glemsford;

Prime Minister David Cameron, and local Conservative MPs and Councillors, pledged[2] repeatedly before and since the 2010 General election that all 48 Children’s Centres in our county were ‘safe’.

Labour councillors across Suffolk have been warning about the closure of Children’s Centres, a warning that has sadly come true.

And concerns are growing that these closures could just be the start. Further cuts are likely in the autumn following a ‘review of staffing’ in Children’s Centres, also announced in the report.

Labour Leader on Suffolk County Council Sandy Martin is concerned about how the decisions to close the centres have been reached. He said; “There seems to be no logic as to why they have chosen to close some Children’s Centres rather than others. Meredith Children’s Centre in Ipswich is not expensive per child to run, it is in exactly the right place for a Children’s Centre to help those that need it most and there are 26 other centres that are less well attended that are not being closed”.

Labour Leader on Ipswich Borough Council David Ellesmere said; “Children’s Centres are there to give our children the best possible start in life. The Conservatives say they are concerned about the problems families face – closing Children’s Centres is a funny way of showing it”.

He added; “Children’s Centres save money in the long run by ensuring families have access to a whole range of health, education and other services under one roof. It is more effective and less expensive to provide family support services at Children’s Centres so that possible long term problems can be nipped in the bud. It’s really important that parents have a local centre where they feel welcome”.

Notes to Editors
[1] The papers for the County Council meeting can be found at http://committeeminutes.suffolkcc.gov.uk/meeting.aspx?d=17/Jul/2014&c=County Council
2 The day before the general election, Cameron promised to protect the network of children’s centres founded by Labour, telling one voter who asked “whether these centres will continue to receive funding”: “Yes, we back Sure Start. It’s a disgrace that Gordon Brown has been trying to frighten people about this. He’s the prime minister of this country but he’s been scaring people about something that really matters.”
Over 600 Sure Start Centre’s have closed since 2010.
Quote taken from The New Statesman
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/11/labour-targets-camerons-broken-promises-sure-start

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