'A safe place which many will be lost without': Parents defend Norfolk children's centres
PUBLISHED: 11:00 28 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:38 28 October 2018
Families turned out in droves for Jeremy Corbyn's visit to a Norfolk children's centre to defend a valuable lifeline in their community.
Parents who use the North City Children’s Centre spoke of the friends they had made, the vast variety of services available, and the comfort the centre had provided in times of need.
For Patricia Baladez, 34, the centre provided a social lifeline when she and her husband moved to Norfolk from London after the birth of their daughter Lucia, two.
“I left my job so we could come here. Suddenly I didn’t know anyone and I was at home all the time with the baby. Then I discovered the children’s centre and I have been coming four or five days a week,” she said.
“It means a lot. I have met most of my friends here. For me it has been like a salvation to be honest. If they got closed it would be awful.”
Jason Slack, 40, and wife Tia have been bringing their children Abigail, two, and Lucas, 10 months, since birth.
Mr Slack said: “They are very positive and happy places. Every community needs a hub like this, a safe place to play. There will be a lot of parents who will feel lost without it.”
Corrina Brock began coming to the centre when her son William, now five, was eight weeks old. Since then she has used services including two outreach groups, baby first aid training and stay and play sessions.
Without the centre, she said she would have “suffered alone”.
“To me it became a safe place where I was not judged and felt listened to. Being a parent to a newborn can be an extremely lonely and overwhelming experience,” she said.
“It concerns me greatly that others will not have this permanent fixture on their door steps. They will not have somewhere or someone to turn to.”
Natalie Smith, 32, has been bringing daughter Vivienne, two, to the centre since she was born after its post-natal classes were recommended by her health visitor.
She said: “It made so much difference to us to come here.
“We met a lot of people through the classes who we still keep in touch with and I am having another baby who I hope to bring here too.
“Just knowing you can come here and it is free, it is such a great resource.”