Concern at nursery cutbacks in Wales

Parents angry at the cuts been made to the Sue Walker Children's Centre in Wales.  Pictured far right holding the petition is parent advisor Esther Martin  (w111017-5a)

Parents angry at the cuts been made to the Sue Walker Children's Centre in Wales. Pictured far right holding the petition is parent advisor Esther Martin (w111017-5a)

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CONCERNED parents at a nursery in Wales have started a petition against cuts at the centre.

Rotherham Council is looking at all children’s centres in the borough and their proposals include splitting workers time between the Sue Walker Children’s Centre in Wales and another in Thurcroft.

Parents are worried that the changes will mean for their children, with many unable to travel to Thurcroft.

Parent advisor Esther Martin said: “We don’t know what will happen to the kids,”

“They (the council) could want us to go to Thurcroft, but for a lot of people it isn’t going to be practical at all.”

“We want somebody from the council to come down and explain what is going on with our funding.”

“They have worked hard to get members and families through the door. Changing things could put a lot of people off.”

Mary Smith, early years and childcare strategy manager at Rotherham Council tried to reassure parents that the centre would remain open. She said that discussions were ongoing, but they hoped to ensure the centre was staffed five-days-a-week.

She said: “Throughout this year, we have been working with all of the borough’s children’s centres to look at the services they offer to ensure they are meeting the needs of our local communities. This is particularly about targeting the most vulnerable families who need additional support.”

“We are continuing our discussions with centre staff, parents and Kiveton Park Junior School colleagues and have put forward a proposal to have a family support worker and an outreach worker working part time at this centre and part-time at another centre in Thurcroft to support families in both areas as well as having administrative staff on site.”

“They will both work two days a week at the Sue Walker Children’s Centre meaning the centre can be staffed by a worker for four days a week, promoting and providing a range of services. The administrative staff will enable the centre to remain open for five days a week so during other opening times, opportunities such as support for childminders and for new and expectant mums can continue to operate as they are already provided by other workers and services. There will also be adult learning and other opportunities to bring new service providers to work in the centre with parents.”

“The Sue Walker Children’s Centre is a valuable resource and the changes we are proposing will ensure that the centre remains open and services continue to be offered which meet the needs of the community in that area.”