These cuts were decided at this boisterous meeting last month at which many of the mothers were present to make themselves heard, and having met them I wouldn't want to be on their wrong side.
Our Council insist that no centres are set to be closed, and that by moving to what they call a "hub and spoke" operation they can keep a skeleton service alive.
But back in the real world I myself have been told by staff at the centre I use that they all expect to close by the end of the year. It doesn't affect me because we won't need them anymore given the offspring's age but there are plenty of others who will be, not to mention the staff that will be sacked.
Having said all of that, the Council did have to cut somewhere. It just doesn't taste very nice when you then hear about how they are planning to spend money on Olympic tickets instead.
Here's what the protestors have to say:
Let’s be heard!
Save Our Children’s Centres!
Weds 30TH March
Hammersmith Town Hall, King Street, W6
Hammersmith & Fulham Parents Unite invite you to join us in a peaceful rally, and to present our petition to LBH&F Council.
Over 1,500 signatures so far!
Be there at 4pm with your buggies and your children! Or just yourself!
10 Children’s Centres have had their budgets slashed by up to 95%! £19,000 a year does not keep a Centre “open” as claimed!
Hammersmith & Fulham Parents Unite
We represent thousands of families from across the Borough that will be dramatically affected by the proposed cuts to Children’s Centres
Our views and objectives:
- We are strongly against 'Spoke & Hub' model and the restructuring of Early Intervention Services in Hammersmith & Fulham
- £19K funding does not keep a centre "open" as claimed
- Experienced, qualified staff, educated in Early Years, are vital to each Centre, and must be kept
- Parents are happy to volunteer only in properly staffed centres
- We would propose an alternate 15-20% cut to be applied equally to each Centre, to be managed by each individual Centre
- Enable centres to apply for additional, non-statutory funding
- Maintain the Childminder Network Co-ordinators within Children’s Centres – local community contact is vital
- Whilst we understand the need for some cuts, the present Children's Centre model has been wholeheartedly endorsed by the parental responses to our consultations