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Save Our Children's Centres

This petition had 1,049 supporters


Lewisham Council is proposing to Ofsted-deregister 13 of the 17 existing Children's Centres in Lewisham. Besson Street Gardens, St Swithun’s, Heathside and Lethbridge, Evelyn, Amersham, Hatcham Oak, Manor House, Torridon, Marvels Lane, Kelvin Grove and Elliot Bank, Beecroft Garden and Kilmorie are all affected.

If a Children's Centre is deregistered, then Health Visitors, Social Services and GPs can no longer refer vulnerable families to it for support. The Children's Centres are designed to support vulnerable families and have targets set around the support they offer, on both the number of families they help and how effective that help is. If families cannot be referred, the Centre cannot meet its targets and loses it purpose for being. Deregistration is effectively closure by stealth.

The initial consultation at Beecroft Garden was well attended by parents who were passionate about the services they'd received. People were clear that the centre had literally saved their lives at times where they had felt utterly isolated and desperate; it had enabled parents to build their own support networks and make friends; it had helped parents with SEN children access the services they needed and taught them how to help their own children more effectively; it helped victims of domestic violence escape from that cycle, taking their children with them; it helped parents cope who were at the end of their tethers; it gave people a place to have fun with their children. It has become a warm, welcoming home from home for many vulnerable families and children.

If the current proposals go ahead, only 4 Children's Centres would remain in the whole of Lewisham borough. This despite the council's own report stating that: 

The consultation shows that Children's Centres in Lewisham and the services offered are greatly valued by those who use them and that the majority of respondents (65%) go to Centres within walking distance from their homes. (Pg 7, section 7.1)

and a 'Key Risk' being:

Fewer families will be included in the contracts for targeted support. As these will be families in need they will have fewer services to rely on in the borough and their needs may escalate, leading to poorer outcomes for children. (Pg 8, section 9.2)  

This petition calls on Mayor Bullock to save our Children's Centres, and to commit to maintaining the services they provide to our most vulnerable families now and in the future.  

 



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Cathy Dearson needs your help with “Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham: Save Our Children's Centres”. Join Cathy and 1,048 supporters today.