‘De-designation’ – a new word for shutting children’s centres.
Labour parliamentary candidate Sarah Owen has slammed a consultation on closing three Children’s Centres in Hastings. East Sussex County Council has announced proposals to ‘de-designate’ five of the county’s Children’s Centres, three of which – Churchwood, Red Lake and Silverdale – are located here in Hastings.
Budget papers show that ‘de-designation’ actually means these children’s centres will close. This was confirmed by Council officers at a meeting where the proposals were revealed. The threatened Children’s Centres will be handed back to schools, and some of the popular services they currently provide for local families will no longer be guaranteed at those sites. The County Council has not offered any alternatives to closing and reconfiguring the children’s centres to accommodate new early years education places for two year olds. Campaigners and parents have argued this is a short-sighted move, which offers no choice and gives with one hand and takes with another.
The one public meeting held by East Sussex County Council was very poorly attended with just eight parents present out of the hundreds who use the children’s centres making it to the Magnet Centre in St Leonards, which is far from the three children centres that are actually under threat.
Following the meeting with parents and council officers, Sarah Owen said:
“Hastings has lost more than its fair share of services from this Government and East Sussex County Council. They should be honest about their plans to close three Children’s Centres in the town. The term ‘de-designation’ means they will cease to be Children’s Centres and close. I call on the senior Conservative politicians in charge of this shambles to scrap this consultation and start again. Parents, children and staff deserve a simpler and more honest consultation on whether their Children’s Centres are lost.”
“It is essential that the County Council seeks out and listens to families who actually use the services currently provided at these Children’s Centres. I am being contacted by families who are extremely concerned to hear that our centres are under threat. They are also reporting that the County Council’s consultation documents are difficult to understand and that their survey form lacks sufficient opportunity to register opposition to the proposals. Children’s Centres are desperately needed to tackle problems of isolation, supporting parents, and providing a safe, fun environment for families of all backgrounds.
If you’d like to join Sarah’s campaign to defend our Children’s Centres, sign the petition below. Also, please make sure you take part in the County Council’s consultation too by clicking here.
We the undersigned, want to save the three Children Centres in Hastings & St Leonards-on-Sea from closing. We feel that East Sussex County Council’s move to ‘de-designate’ Children’s Centres at Churchwood, Red Lake and Silverdale will have a negative impact on the community groups, the parents and children who use the centres.
|72||Emma Anderson||Hastings||We need these Children's Centres.|
|70||Rosalind Brookman||Ashtead||Children's centres are vital to each and every community. They can be a lifeline to many parents - everything should be done to endure they remain open.|
|67||Kelly Brown||St Leonard's|
|66||laura paterson||st leonards||Hastings is unique in that it provides a safe place for families to play with activities in abundance. having said that this is needed in a town driven by tourism and essential to avoid overcrowding on the seafront. The use of the children centres should be reviewed if they are not being used adequately but it is evident that this is not the case and the centres are in constant use.|
|62||kayleigh johnson||St Leonard's on sea||I have 2 children, 1 of which loved the children's centre and I would like my other child to use them too as it helps them before nursery and school|
|61||Peter Burgess||St Leonard's on Sea||Disgraceful|
|60||Delice Allen||Hastings||Children in this town have little enough, without taking any more from them!|
|56||Ian Edwards||Hastings||Childrens Centres are valuable to all local towns and closing them down shows the council are not thinking about parents and families best interests!|
|54||Roberta King||St Leonards|
|53||Steve Colwell||Hastings||These are important services for local people and should be maintained, not closed down!|
|52||Colin Fitzgerald||I am concerned that the consultation process on these proposed closures has not been widely advertised & I am anxious that residents don't lose valuable services as a result.|
|50||Andrea Hunneman||St Leonards on sea||Please leave our childrens centres alone, they are needed by the families of this town|
|49||Isabella Owen||St Leonards||These centres are essential in this area for both the children and their parents.Please think again|
|44||Heather Atkinson||Hastings||Such free services containing support, advice and resources are vital to many families in Hastings. These need to continue in order for families in Hastings to move forward rather than continue along the negative cycles they are too often trapped in.|
|42||tanya livick-child||st leoards|
|40||Graham Geer||Hastings||The loss of these centres will be a blow to a very deprived town.|
|36||James Duck||St Leonard's on sea|
|35||Cllr Nigel Sinden.||St, Leanards-on-sea.||I offer any help that I can give.|
|33||Bruce Dowling||Hastings||We need all the centres we have in hasting and more|
|31||Peter Groves||Sy Leonards|
|30||Justin Bone||St Leonard's on sea||Outrageous|
|29||Julia Harris||Hastings||ESCC arranged this meeting at 5pm AKA every child's teatime. So that's why no parent attended. Massive fail. CCs got me through the first months of new motherhood. Love them.|
|28||Viki Marden||hastings||we use Red Lake childrens centre frequently and believe it is well located. It is silly to take opputunities away from people who need it.|
|27||JANE PERKINS||St Leonard's on Sea||Euphemisms such as 'de-designate' are a shameful attempt to confuse the unwary. Our dwindling public services need to be protected.|
|26||joseph knight||Hastings||I feel that there should be more places not less Hastings is growing town!!!|
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