Protect Norfolk 'Sure Start' Children's Centres
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My local children's centre was a life-saver when my daughter was a baby and toddler. It was motivation to leave the house, to keep some structure to the day and to be able to seek advice in a non-threatening environment. I felt out of my depth as a new parent and the advice and support I received was invaluable. My daughter really benefited from activities with other children, and I was able to maintain some kind of social support network. I'm passionate about the excellent work our children's centres do and the difference they make to the lives of families in Norfolk. It's in everyone's interest that children in Norfolk are happy, safe and reaching their potential. Our children's centres play a crucial role in this. That's why I'm asking you to support this petition.........
We the undersigned value our 'sure start' centres and believe that the proposal to remove 50% (£5 million) from the budget for Norfolk's Children's Centres is a false economy that will harm the life chances of children and families in Norfolk. In particular we are concerned about the risks of increased isolation and poor parental mental health, as children's centres have also had a proven positive impact on these issues.
We think it is nonsense that the service will be "improved" by having half of its budget slashed.
Research into the early years has found that for every £1 spent on quality early care and education saves taxpayers £13 in future costs 
We believe that our Children's Centres should:
- Remain a universal, non-stigmatising, service accessible equally to all Norfolk families
- Continue to provide enhanced, targeted support to families most in need
- Continue to provide services through both outreach and in local child-centred community buildings
- Provide activities and support that ALL remain free to access
We call on the County Council to:
Abandon the proposal to remove 50% of funding from our children's centres and commit to protect this budget. To not do so is a false economy that will just 'shunt' cost on to other services and undermine the excellent progress made locally in 'school readiness' and early years outcomes.
 ref: Centre for Research in Early Childhood (2013) The impact of early education as a strategy in countering socioeconomic disadvantage).
Promoted by Alan Pawsey on behalf of Norfolk County Labour Party, both of St Mark’s Church Hall, Hall Road, Norwich NR1 3HL.
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