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Save our surestart children centres, 250 nationwide to go incl

Despite the false promises that surestart children centres would not be closed, their funding was not ringfenced. It was reported last week that up to 250 of these vital, vibrant sources of our future generations development and essential childcare services could close as local authorities would not be able to continue to fund amongst their cuts. Well it's already started happening in Birmingham and elswhere at my sons centre which will close by Mar 2011. There are hardly any affordable childcare places left & competition fiece for the free 3 yr plus places. Surely our kids are entitled to the very best start in life and families access to these important services?

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      • Zoe BremerZoe Bremer commented  · 

        The problem is that it is not families that are making use of these services. It is usually women. Half of all parents are men. They're called Fathers. SureStart seems to ignore this and, apart from a few token projects, does nothing to engage men in childcare or to encourage young men to train as nursery nurses, which is a great shame.

      • lizzielizzie commented  · 

        This is vital as early learning effect the whole life. A good start increase the probability of good health, education, relationships. A poor start increases the likelyhood of prison, addiction, illness

      • Sue BanksSue Banks commented  · 

        I work in a Surestart centre and we really do make a difference to the families who use our services. Our services are available to anyone who needs them.

      • beccibecci commented  · 

        any one on facebook, join our group, is calld oakmeadow and strawberry meadow childrens centre. we have links with other centres on there and also petitions that you can all sign. we are planning protest marches etc. the more people that join our sites and sign our petitions the better chance we have of the government backing down!!!thanks for all your support

      • Janet McdonaldJanet Mcdonald commented  · 

        If our future generations need to develop and learn surestart centres are an essential part of their future.

      • Pat BarkerPat Barker commented  · 

        I only go occassionally with my grandaughter, but to some these centres are vital, they keep them in touch with the health visitor and her team, and can also meet with other mothers in similar situations.

      • Emma Emma commented  · 

        These centres are invaluable to our community. They provide an irreplaceable source of support for many parents.
        I personally do not know how I would have survived, once having 3 children under the age of 2 and a half!
        Is the welfare of our children not key in our society? A decision to close such centres would NOT be putting our children first.

      • WaheedaWaheeda commented  · 

        I was a very active Surestart volunteer for 4 years. I have seen communities brought back to life because of these centres. It's a real shame that the government is taking away these people's hopes for a better life for the sake of a few quid! How will closing these centres bring to life the BIG SOCIETY dream the PM has??

      • hilarykinghilaryking commented  · 

        Having suffered from with a very poorly collicky baby, sleep deprivation and depression, I was introduced to my Gomersal and Littletown sure start centre, where I recieved a tremendous amount of support. They were my lifeline and I wouldnt be where I am today without their support.
        Through one of their courses on offer I have gone on to be volunteer support worker for STAR project and gained in my self confidence.
        These centres are vital for our families and our communities.
        Please support them.

      • Gareth LewisGareth Lewis commented  · 

        Following the birth of our first child, and many surgeries for my wife afterwards, my wife and I felt a little isolated as our families lived far away. On a whim, my wife popped into Gomersal and Littletown Surestart and received support and a friendly welcome straight away. With our second child now 16 months, I have volunteered as chairman for the Local Advisory Board because I recognise just how valuable a resource the centres really are.
        My oldest son, no 3, has been porly treated by our local GP and, due to this mismanagement, will be having a kidney removed to prevent further problems. Had it not been for the constant support from Haleema, Ruth, Claire, Amanda, Shahena and all the part-time staff, my wife and I would not have coped with this devastating blow to our family.
        Nevermind the support we have had, what about the advice on benefits, healthcare, childcare, learning tools, good links with the local school and church and the simple pleasure of knowing that you will always have a friend if you need one?
        Mr. Cameron, you may not need any of these things, but so many of us do. We are already in a recession, don't make it a depression.

      • Tracey leeTracey lee commented  · 

        Surestart is a lifeline for many families. It works irrelevant of how much money you have.. It would be disasterous to so many people if they were to lose what is such a valuable part of their lives. the support given by surestart centres is outstanding...

      • Sharon WalkerSharon Walker commented  · 

        How come it is in this day & age that fundings are being cut so dramatically - it is a false term measure that will have dire consequences and end up costing the government & local councils more in the long run. These establishments and especially the staff, offer so much hope to young people and families. Another Children & Families trust which is close to me is also facing lack of funding. The result of these cuts are making some childrens and also family centres, effectively having to turn into a small business overnight instead!!!!

      • michael r. johnsonmichael r. johnson commented  · 

        surestart and similar centres are vital to small and medium size comunities

      • Elizabeth WagnerElizabeth Wagner commented  · 

        One has to remember that originally the Sure Start programme was working with families who were hugely disadvantaged for a variety of reasons
        Intergenerational unemployment
        Low income
        Problems with poor health, diet and parenting styles which do not support overall child development.
        Drug & Alcohol abuse
        Teenage pregnancy
        Poor housing conditions
        The Sure Start programme emphasises the importance of early intervention to change the lives of children and families. Most research points to the direct link between poor early years experiences and poor outcomes in overall schooling which then impacts on social mobility and employment.

        Sure Start programmes have not had enough time to become fully embedded in the communties they serve. This has impacted on research into its success. The American 'Head Start' programme which the Sure Start programmes were modelled on were given 10 years before any impact was measured and the 30 year longitudinal study showed that those children who were involved in the Head Start programme were less likely to commit crime, get divorced, become pregnant early and were more likely to go onto higher education.
        What most of the research shows is that money invested in Early Years & families saves money that is spent on fostering, adoption, social services, youth justice issues, extra services and personnel required in schools/ colleges ,mental health problems and crime.
        They are pulling up the plants before they have grown. Seeds need sets of conditions to make them grow if you keep pulling them up every few days they will never grow any roots. The sure start programmes need time to grow deep roots so they can support what is happening above the ground.

      • Sue HammersleySue Hammersley commented  · 

        A healthy society is judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable, and children cannot speak out for their own needs - we must maintain the quality of support that surestart offers. This is not a choice but a responsibility.

      • Rev Susan MacbethRev Susan Macbeth commented  · 

        Vital, vital services for those who need them. Surestart centres, along with other educational establishments, were to be seen as the centre of any community. Take these away and you take away the heart of the community.

      • Mary LittleMary Little commented  · 

        Funding for future generations is vital. The Big Society is not the answer to these services.

      • ClaireClaire commented  · 

        Surestart centres are a lifeline to the community. I live in Hackney, a borough of London with private nurseries so bad that you wouln't leave your dog there, let alone your child. In contrast, my local Surestart centre has just been rated as outstanding in their latest Ofsted inspection. It is a source of help and advice for pretty much every issue that an inner city family could possibly face; it has a Citizens Advice Bureau volunteer, a Jobcentre representative, counselling services, sewing and cooking classes, support for immigrant families, benefits advice, everything. In addition, it has affordable childcare and a wonderful playgroup that is on everyday and costs justs £1. This is a lifesaver for families, many of whom live in small flats with no outdoor space, to take their toddlers to and let them run off steam. Closing the Surestart centres is criminal, they are one of the best legacys of new Labour and must be preserved at all costs.

      • missizicksmissizicks commented  · 

        Is this true? I suppose the government is using the excuse that they allocate money to local councils, it's not up to them how the local councils spend that money.

        We work with Surestart groups in Manchester and have seen first hand the good they do with families, particularly in less advantaged areas. Since the Coalition decided to cut the amount of child benefit mothers will receive, it's even more of a madness for them to cut the places where mothers receive other forms of support as well.

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