In my local area the Council in their cost cutting escapade are about to close the children & family centres. Many may think oh well it doesn’t affect me & will go about their merry way. Well it does affect you in some way. So please give me a chance to elaborate and read on.
Children & family centres are a support system for all the family not just the kids who attend. I visited our local one today and along with the local parents group my other half has set up a meeting to discuss how the centre can be saved.
The local Labour MP was visiting and whilst he said he thought centres like the one just a few streets away from my home, were excellent & do an amazing job BUT the Labour Council has to find savings of over £2 million quid.
Personally I think this Labour MP turned up to show a modicum of faux outrage but will not raise any complaints to his chums in the Council House to actually actively save the centre!
It’s this sort of hypocrisy that really grinds my wheels of steel! He says he will attend the meeting on Monday evening, I wonder if he will turn up & will he have any practical ideas to offer? I doubt it but I’d very much like to be proved wrong on this particular issue.
One of the very few things Labour got right in the 13yrs they were running the shop was the Sure Start Children & Family Centres. Credit where it’s due for implementing these community hubs.
Enough of bigging up the opposition!
Anyway what do these centres provide?
1) They give new mums support & guidance.
2) They provide a space for kids to play in a safe & caring environment.
3) The parents & carers of the children can go to other parents or the staff to discuss how they feel without being judged.
4) These Centres can help parents develop better parenting skills which can help keep families together. This support can prevent kids who are loved from going into care because the parents are getting the support & advice they need to provide a safer environment for their kids.
5) They support parents who suffer from post natal depression. With this support many parents (yes not only mothers get post natal depression) are able to cope better & their PND is reduced & they recover faster.
6) it provides high quality child care at affordable prices. This helps parents who tend to work during the time their kids are in the centre. If the centre is closed how many parents will have to stop working? This isn’t good for the parent or the child.
7) this particular centre caters for children with special needs. I met 2 mothers, who travel a good few miles to go to the centre, both their sons have Autism. This centre has been a lifeline for the mothers and the children. They kids were both non verbal and they have interests in certain things. The mothers said the kids love going to that centre. They mix with kids who don’t have Autism and it helps these little angels a chance to see, hear & copy the other children. If this centre closes plus others in the borough who will be there for these kids?
8) there are parenting skills & advice on hand from a variety of parents and the staff. Relationships have been built & trust is a great part of these relationships. As the parents feel they are able to say “this is how I feel & I don’t like feeling this way”, they can do this without fear of being judged. Another vital element of these centres is the trust & relationships that have been built up over the years.
10) If the centre where to close the costs that the Council think they will make is going to be a good hundred thousand or 5 maybe more.
11) the centres can prevent higher costs for the Social Services Department;
a). Kids who attend the centre are monitored & fewer of then need assistance from Social Workers. This leaves them free to investigate the more horrific cases we hear about on the news.
b). Parents are able to work part time & most parents there do. They enjoy working & they pay taxes. If the centre closes how much will it cost in unemployment/out of work benefits?
c). Parents who work are less likely to suffer from depression. If the centre closes then it highly likely that there will be a rise in the number people with depression/anxiety. How much does it cost if the parents suffer with depression have a major meltdown so all manner of agencies get involved.
This will increase costs so to cut these centres is a totally false economy. The centre provides the care of an extended family. The centres & the staff are there to look after the children BUT also the parental units.
There are so many reasons to keep this centre open & only 1 reason to close it and that reason is the cuts being made via the Council House
inmates to the whole area of children services.
Surely there are many other costs that could be cut, which won’t cause us the real problems associated with being a parent. Children learn so much in those early years so we must provide such places as Children’s Centres.
I met and spoke with so many of the parents & they could give you many more reasons to keep the centre open. I hope this will be used as the preamble and I’d really be grateful if any of the parents would state their reasons for keeping the Children’s Centres.
I look forward to hearing your views on this issue.
Don’t forget the meeting on Monday Evening at Sedgley Workings Mens Club. Starts at 7pm prompt. Please do try to bring along friends & family. These cuts affect us all!