Village Sure Start centres could close
An online petition already has over 1,500 signatures calling for the County Council to reconsider a proposal to close 15 Sure Start Children’s Centres in the county.
The county has 48 children’s centres but is considering doing away with its 15 ‘phase 3’ centres due to funding cuts, including ones at Caythorpe, Ancaster and Heckington, all attached to primary schools.
The petition has been started on Change.org by Helena Mair of Lincoln. She says: “They are an essential support network in promoting child development and school readiness in more disadvantaged familes.”
Coun Patricia Bradwell, Executive Councillor for Children’s Services, said: “As the council has to find around £42m of savings next year alone, all service areas are seeing budget reductions for next year and beyond.”
She said the remaining centres are to support families and children in the most deprived communities and any options would need to go out to consultation.
The council will make its budget cut decisions on Friday February 19.
Rachel Armitage of Caythorpe said the news it could close was awful. She said: “It runs some brilliant classes for all ages and is an opportunity for new parents to get out of the house and socialise with other parents. For those who don’t drive it is a long bus ride to the nearest centre in Sleaford.
“My baby and I both get so much out of these classes. If Caythorpe centre gets closed down, so many parents, carers and children will be deprived of a great local amenity and many families will miss out.”