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Small army of Norwich parents represent a country as they deliver card to Westminster in fight for children’s centres

PUBLISHED: 13:50 18 April 2018 | UPDATED: 13:50 18 April 2018

Parents from the Action for Children Catton Grove, Fiddlewood and Mile Cross centre deliver a card to Westminster to raise awareness of the impact of cuts to children's centres. Picture: Henry WR White

Parents from the Action for Children Catton Grove, Fiddlewood and Mile Cross centre deliver a card to Westminster to raise awareness of the impact of cuts to children's centres. Picture: Henry WR White

Archant

A small army of Norwich parents represented thousands of others around the country as they delivered a card to Westminster to stress the importance of children’s centres.

Parents from the Action for Children Catton Grove, Fiddlewood and Mile Cross centre deliver a card to Westminster to raise awareness of the impact of cuts to children's centres. Picture: Henry WR WhiteParents from the Action for Children Catton Grove, Fiddlewood and Mile Cross centre deliver a card to Westminster to raise awareness of the impact of cuts to children's centres. Picture: Henry WR White

The centres have faced cuts around the country, with many closing as cash-strapped local authorities try to make savings.

In Norfolk, the county council has launched a review into the services, and yesterday confirmed that, rather than being universal, the services would now focus on children aged up to five.

On Wednesday, six parents from the Catton, Fiddlewood and Mile Cross Children’s Centre, run by Action for Children, delivered a card made by Norwich youngsters to the government.

It marked education secretary Damian Hinds’ 100th day in office, with Karen Ames, Kristina Lott, Becky Wiley, Helen Woods, Michelle Ward and Simon Olive-Jones, delivering the card, which featured fingerprinting by centre children.

Parents from the Action for Children Catton Grove, Fiddlewood and Mile Cross centre deliver a card to Westminster to raise awareness of the impact of cuts to children's centres. Picture: Henry WR WhiteParents from the Action for Children Catton Grove, Fiddlewood and Mile Cross centre deliver a card to Westminster to raise awareness of the impact of cuts to children's centres. Picture: Henry WR White

Karen Ames, who has been attending the centre for three months, said the centre community had been life-changing.

“I didn’t get out of the house until my daughter was three months old,” she said. “I had to get her weighed and the staff encouraged me to come to the group.

“Now I go three times a week, so I really, really rely on it - not just for my child but for me as well.”

Becky Wiley, who has two children, said: “I had complications with my first child and how he progressed needed to be monitored over the first couple of years, and the centre meant he could go there just like any other child.

“It isn’t just a playgroup - it’s a support network, which would otherwise have to be provided by medical professionals.”

Norfolk County Council has said it would be premature to speculate over whether centres in the county might close.

Suggestions over what the review might entail include the centres operating from shared community buildings, such as libraries.

What is your experiences of children’s centres? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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