Campaigners set to protest closure of Buckinghamshire's Children Centres
Buckinghamshire County Council has proposed to introduce a new early help service, which could see 35 vital children’s centres across Bucks axed and replaced with nine hubs.
Campaigners are concerned that closing the centres is mainly a cost saving exercise which will adversely affect both parents and their children.
Save Buckinghamshire’s Children’s Centres Campaigners have been calling for the centres to remain open and for more money to be invested into them, so they can reach moreparents and families as opposed to making unnecessary cuts of over Â£3 million.
Wycombe District Councillor, Andrea Baughan said ‘the Centres across the County do incredibly valuable work with families; offering opportunities for parents and children tolearn, play, make friends and acquire new skills.
She said: ‘Those who work in the centres are skilled and offer support, information and on to one work for parents facing difficulties with languages, domestic violence, first aidcourses, breastfeeding support and advice. They also give advice on housing and finances, helping parents who may be suffering with post natal depression, anxiety and providingparenting skills. The centres are vital for our communities and I would not like to see them closed down.’
The recent Bucks County Council consultation received over 2000 responses, however a recent petition requesting all 35 centres stay open has received 2,344 signatures. Thispetition was sent to Buckinghamshire County Council before the consultation ended but remains open and continues to attract more signatures everyday.
Campaigner and user of the Children’s Centres, Alka Dass, said ‘My 22 month old son and I have hugely benefitted from the local Children’s Centres. My husband and I moved to HighWycombe last year, my mother had passed away 2 weeks before my son was born.
"Without the help of my Health Visitor and the Children's Centres throughout the last 18 months, I would have found it even more difficult.
"I have benefited from Parenting Courses, support with Healthy Minds and my son has also received help with his speech.
"He has grown in confidence, met and learnt to interact with other children – this has all really helped his development.
"I would have been very lost without the centres and the support they provide and I also have made friends with mothers there.
"For a lot of families, these are not just children’s centres but the place communities of new families are created.
"The centre’s also making it financially viable for parents and families to attend. We have all come together with one purpose and that is to keep the children’s centres open.
"We need to think about the future of our children – please come along and support us to stop the closure of the centres."
Full details of the protest and further information on how to get involved will soon be on FB Group –