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SAVE OUR CHILDREN'S CENTRES: Petition is signed by almost 800 in Swindon
HUNDREDS of people signed the Adver’s petition against proposed cuts to the children’s centre budget during our week-long campaign.
A total of 783 people entered their signatures to rally support against the possible slashing of funding for centres in Swindon.
One of those people was Claire Carter, who said a wealth of experience and knowledge on offer at the centre could be lost.
Ms Carter has used Green-meadow Children’s Centre since her daughter Madison was born two years ago. The pair attended the baby groups, before graduating to toddler sessions.
The 32-year-old said activities such as swimming groups and positive parents courses had been invaluable in her daughter’s progression and her own understanding of being a parent.
Ms Carter, of Haydon End, said voluntary groups run by parents would not be as helpful as having professional staff on hand throughout the year.
“It’s difficult. I understand that the costs need to be met and vulnerable families need the most help, but I think the council is being a bit short-sighted,” she said.
“Taking facilities away from families or cutting them back will mean more parents will become vulnerable in the long run.”
She said when her daughter first started suffering from hayfever she was able to ask staff at the centre for advice and confirmation that the infant was not suffering from something more serious.
“It meant I didn’t need to go to the GP, which meant someone with something more important could use that space instead,” she said. “Having that one professional to speak to really helps.”
The Adver launched a campaign last week to try to save the centres from proposed cuts. The petitions will be handed to Swindon Council next week. The authorities need to save about £390,000 from the children’s centre budget by 2014/15.
The authority’s consultation document contains a proposal merging Greenmeadow with four other centres to create a “super cluster”.
The consultation, which ends today, is looking at ways to reshape funding to the borough’s 14 centres, with the aim of steering cash towards the most vulnerable families.
A report will be made available in early September highlighting the findings from the consultation.
The results will be debated by the cabinet on September 11, when a decision is likely to be made about the centres’ future.
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