Reader Letter: Shameful proposals on children’s centres

PUBLISHED: 11:31 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:31 14 November 2018

Families and children protesting against the closure of Children's Centres ready to march through Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Families and children protesting against the closure of Children's Centres ready to march through Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


For many years, I was a governor and deputy chair of a children’s centre and nursery school in one of the most deprived wards in England — in Norwich.

I witnessed the brilliant and dedicated staff give some of society’s most vulnerable children a better chance in life. Ofsted consistently rated the work of the staff as Outstanding. Now, that opportunity is to be taken away and the children’s centre is scheduled for closure.

I watched the dedicated staff take part in child protection work for the which they received no payment, sometimes from identification of risk through to care proceeding and the safety of foster parents. I saw the resus bags on the wall, toddlers with hearing aids from mothers who drank through pregnancy.

I saw our two-year-old pilot completely full of children ‘in need’ or ‘at risk’ under the Children’s Act. And I saw at least some of those children and families thrive with the support they were given.

We shouldn’t kid ourselves that all that is being closed is a few playgroups or stay-and-plays. These closures target the most vulnerable children in society. Most disgusting of all, the closures are not based upon deprivation or need but rather upon geography and narrow partisan political considerations.

Yet, I remember our governors, from the right and left, religious and not, leave political and cultural differences at the door to unite to attempt to help these children — and all those of them that I have spoken to are disgusted by these proposals.

The idea that many vulnerable families will or can leave their estate to travel long distances is laughable.

How do you deliver domestic violence, mental health or child welfare discussions in a public library or church hall?

We hear so much about early intervention, yet this is the polar opposite. Utterly shameful.

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