Despite promises back in 2010 by national and local politicians that no children's centres would close in Suffolk, we are now set to lose at least nine and this is probably just the start. Two of these are in the large rural constituency of South Suffolk.
Children's Centres bring a whole range of services together under one roof for expectant mothers, children and families. Not only do they provide activities, information, education and support, they also pick up and help meet the specific needs of mothers and children early on – saving money in the long term. They're vital to identify children at risk of harm and a crucial link in organising the right help to give all youngsters the best start in life.
County council proposals for Hadleigh mean our centre will be ‘merged’ with East Bergholt.
In Glemsford the centre will be ‘merged’ with the Phoenix Centre in Sudbury.
Once again, change is being driven by budget cuts not meeting local needs - Hadleigh and Glemsford have large populations, as do East Bergholt and Sudbury.
I am deeply worried about what this means for our children. Locally, political leaders at Suffolk County Council are again failing to take into account the additional impact of the cuts in rural areas. We are anticipating increases in population, at the same time as we are seeing bus services slashed, closures of village schools, loss of education travel subsidies and even the threat of reductions in services at small GP practices.
As one mother wrote yesterday:
‘There are not enough resources for our young people and children as it is. Surely good intervention at a young age community based and on the door step is what we have all been told needs to happen to ensure better results for these young people’