What a sad day for the children and families of the Wakefield district if the council decides to reduce the Surestart Children’s Centres service when, in fact, they should be looking at extending it to include young people and their families up to the age of 19.
This was an initiative promoted by the last Labour government and supported wholeheartedly by Wakefield Council and particularly by Olivia Rowley, who has played a significant and prominent part in developing children’s centres throughout the district. I was amazed to hear her speaking about reducing the number of centres when I have heard her speak with passion about all the benefits of this initiative.
The current centres, are very much based in the community, many of them attached to schools identified specifically because they serve the areas of greatest need in terms of poverty, worklessness and health issues.
Much of the work done in the children’s centres is aimed at preventing children and families from going into crisis and supporting people to develop the skills required to do this for themselves in the future .
The benefits of children’s centres come at all stages. They have an immediate impact in the provision of support, such as stay and play sessions and baby massage sessions, for many families coping with very young children in very difficult situations and circumstances.
They provide for people with addictions such as smoking, those suffering the effects of obesity, mental-health issues, domestic abuse and many other health problems and much, much more.
I believe it is a false economy to reduce the number of children’s centres in the district in order to save on the running costs of the buildings, which were purpose built to improve the lives of our most vulnerable children.
Is this not just another way for those least able to help themselves to pay for the mistakes of those in the financial world who created the collapse of the countries’ finances.