28 Mar 2018, Katy Morton
The ‘National Save our Children’s Centres Campaign’ group has arranged the march on the 20 May to highlight the growing concern of the national loss of children’s centres and the underfunding of early years services, which they say has led to many nurseries closing their doors over the last 12 months.
The campaign group, which is made up of parents and professionals from several counties fighting against cuts to early years services locally, argues that despite children's centres being central to the delivery of early intervention, funding for the provision has been 'slashed' since 2010.
It also says that many centres are being 'remodelled' to save money for 'cash deprived, underfunded local authorities' by bringing together services to make them accessible for children up to the age of 19 and their families, leading to the the of dedicated funded early years services.
A petition started by the campaign group, which calls on the Government to urgently fund councils so they can put funding back into children’s centres, has received 5,709 signatures of the 10,000 it needs for a Government response.
The group is urging everyone to get involved and join in with the march.
Jess Tomlinson, parent lead for Warwickshire, who started the petition, said, ‘It has been well established since the introduction of the EYFS that early years education and services are just as important as hospitals or schools. Our services are being so underfunded that decisions to cut services and remodel them for cost savings will cause untold damage to thousands of families.’
Another member, Liz Blackshaw parent lead for Leicestershire, added ‘I have volunteered and worked at a number of children's centres. They have transformed the lives of young children and their parents up across the country. The important role that children’s centres play in providing effective multi-agency working is widely recognised both locally and nationally. In all likelihood it is the parents of the most vulnerable children who will be the ones least likely to attend the few remaining centres.’