My letter to the Chron. 28th March
I am writing to express my concern about the proposed closure of 17 children’s centres across the County. This is bad news for women, bad news for families and bad news for children. The children’s centres have played an invaluable role supporting new parents, growing families and stressed communities. We have over 20,000 families living in poverty in the County. We have a growing number of workers on zero contract hours. We have a growing number of the working poor who have to resort to using food banks! We have growing mental health issues in our communities.
Why can’t the county see that their proposals will just make things worse? Early support and early help stops acute need later on. A pound spent in the early years saves £100s being spent later on.
It is a false economy and it will hurt our families.
No-one can bring up children in isolation. Children’s Centres are local, accessible and focussed on what parents and children need. Children Centre staff are highly trained and offer support for networking, self -help, parenting skills and a host of other things. They are good at supporting children who need that extra help. They are excellent at spotting troubled parents who need additional services.
It is not good enough to say libraries can fill the gaps. Most libraries only have one paid worker who has to run the library, support volunteers, issue bus passes and blue badges and a whole variety of other tasks. They are not early years workers and they cannot take the place of trained early years staff.