Stoke-on-Trent’s nationally recognised Save Our Children Centre’s campaign have managed to enlist the support of Cherie Booth QC.
Ms Booth, the wife of former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, has personally written to parents offering her support as the campaign to halt a 30% reduction in funding heads for a judicial review.
The Save Our Children’s Centres campaigners have also enlisted the services of the same solicitors that the Hampshire S.O.C.C are using to further their claim against budget reductions.
Sure Start children centres were described by Tony Blair as “Ëœone of New Labour’s greatest achievements’.
Originally opened in 1999, there are now approximately 3500 Sure Start Children Centres across the country. The key objectives of these centres are:
“¢ In centres in the 30% most disadvantaged areas: integrated early learning and childcare (early years provision) for a minimum of 10 hours a day, five days a week, 48 weeks a year; and support for a childminder network
“¢ In centres in the 70% least disadvantaged areas, which do not elect to offer early years provision: drop-in activity sessions for children, such as stay and play sessions
“¢ Family Support, including support and advice on parenting, information about services available in the area and access to specialist, targeted services; and Parental Outreach
“¢ Child and Family Health Services, such as antenatal and postnatal support, information and guidance on breastfeeding, health and nutrition, smoking cessation support, and speech and language therapy and other specialist support
“¢ Links with Jobcentre Plus to encourage and support parents and carers who wish to consider training and employment
“¢ Quick and easy access to wider services
Authorities are proposing closing or reducing the budgets of the Children Centres as a measure of tackling the reduction in funding handed out to Council’s across the country following the governments Comprehensive Spending Review which was completed last autumn.
There are fears that up to 250 Sure Start Children’s Centres could close across the country in the next 12 months.
Mr Anthony Withers, a Stoke-on-Trent S.O.C.C campaigner and father of seven contacted Cherie Booth QC through a professional social networking site and was delighted to receive a very quick response from her offering her support.
” We are so passionate for the future of our children and so disappointed that 30% of services are being taken away from families- we did not want it to come to this but we feel that we have to fight for our children”.
Please listen to the full audio interview with Mr Withers below: