Protect the Funding for our Children's Centres

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Tamworth Early Learning Service (the Bookstart Team) provide invaluable children's sessions at Glascote and Leyfields Children's Centres. At the start of the financial year Tamworth County Council plan to make monetary cuts to what are already limited budgets, resulting in far fewer sessions. This has happened year on year.

The sessions run provide a life-line for many parents, most notably, but not exclusively, for those from difficult socioeconomic backgrounds and they provide numerous children with the opportunity to learn and progress through play, music and positive, fun interactions.

An hour and a half of Baby Gurgles for example costs £1.50. That's half the cost of a large cup of branded coffee. For those who can afford to pay more, it would be sensible to offer the option to keep the service for a slightly higher cost rather than the complete removal of the group without consulting the community.

Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents and children benefit greatly from the sessions that are being lost. For some care givers, it is the only contact they have with the outside world. Loneliness is cited as one of the most difficult aspects of modern parenting, which can impact heavily on both the mental and physical health of all family members. This has surely been an oversight? Syphoning off council funds for health and social care is understandable. Parents and children left failed by local authorities reducing important outreach provision however, become victims of the system-and the very people whom will the need that area of care. Thus the cuts are false long term economy.

Please sign the petition to ask the council to re-evaluate their short sighted decision and for the centres to consider charging a little extra for the groups that are being dropped. Children's centres set up under Labour government seek to deliver an integrated approach for under 5s: They connect all families to what they need in their community and improve outcomes for children and families.

There are times when families need access to extra support, advice or information to ensure that they get off to the best start. If the council continues to reduce funding -hiding under the guise of austerity- the centres will cease to exist in subsequent years.



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