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Parents fight plan to cut vital service
PROTESTERS took to the streets of Swindon today to campaign against the council’s proposed cuts to the town’s children’s centres.
Dozens of parents congregated at the fountain in the town centre to collect signatures for a petition against the authority slashing £390,000 from its children centre’s budget by 2014/15.
Swindon Council hosted a six- week consultation between July 8 to August 16, looking at plans to reshape the way funding for the 14 centres was allocated – with the majority of cash being steered toward the most vulnerable families.
Wendy Cutter, 34, whose eight-month-old son James attends Drove Children’s Centre, said she thought the council’s timetable was unfair as many parents were on holiday.
To demonstrate her point she plans to rally support from parents who did not hear about the council’s plans for the 14 centres.
“There are loads of people that have been missed because the schools had broken up and I’m going to make sure we reach them,” she said.
Working with a team of parents and with the support of Old Town councillor Nadine Watts, who represents the Old Town ward, the group plans to collect signatures throughout the autumn and then present them to the council.
“There are a lot of mothers out there who are not vulnerable according to the official standards,” said Wendy. “Even if you have £60,000 a year coming in and you have lots of people around you, you can still be vulnerable.
“Things can get out of control. Having a service like the centres is so important – every child under five is vulnerable.”
A council spokesman said: “We consulted widely with parents at all children’s centres about our proposals over six weeks, to make sure that those people who went on holiday had an opportunity to respond.
“More than 150 parents attended the 14 meetings we held at each centre, and four public meetings.
“We have also had 160 official responses to our consultation.
“We have no doubt that the views of the parents who are at today’s event will already have been made known to us by some of the many parents we have already seen.
“A report which takes into account the wide range of views we have been given during the consultation will be considered by the council’s cabinet on September 11.”
The results from the council consultation will be made public late on Tuesday.
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