Nursery battles cuts to ‘vital’ services for families

Julie Cooper MP, Gail Grogan (Parent) with her son Joshua Booth, Deborah Duffy (Parent) with her son Niall Duffy and Laura Swarbrick, Childrens Centre Coordinator (s)
Julie Cooper MP, Gail Grogan (Parent) with her son Joshua Booth, Deborah Duffy (Parent) with her son Niall Duffy and Laura Swarbrick, Childrens Centre Coordinator (s)

Whitegate Nursery School and Children’s Centre had a visit from Burnley MP Julie Cooper as they fight against government cuts.

Lancashire County Council are having to make huge cuts to services for children and families and Whitegate in Padiham is working hard to protect vital groups and services that may be lost as part of the cuts to Well Being, Prevention and Early Help Service.

The ongoing support I have received has made such a difference to my life and has had a massive impact on my children

Parent

The Children’s Centre is working with the local authority to demonstrate the value and impact of the work they do as an Ofsted outstanding Children’s Centre across the local community.

Children’s Centre Co-ordinator Laura Swarbrick said: “Councillors Marcus Johnstone, Andy Tatchell and John Harbour have been extremely supportive and have been working closely with the Whitegate team to try to retain vital services for the community during this time of uncertainty and change.

“We know that a positive, whole family integrated approach to ‘early help’ is vital, this has always been the ethos at Whitegate.

“However families do need to know that, from April 2017, the current package of support and services offered by children’s centres will be vastly reduced and harder to access by the majority.

“Services will be limited to those in greatest difficulty. It is important the community has a voice in these changes and tells the local authority about what works for them and what is important for their family through the consultation.”

Julie Cooper MP visited Whitegate during one of our local consultation events to show her support.

She chatted with a number of families who wanted to express their support for Whitegate, the staff, services and groups. All had stories to share in relation to how their lives have been transformed and how the loss of children’s centres will devastate families who currently have one point of access to a wide range of early intervention services .

One of our parents said: “The ongoing support I have received has made such a difference to my life and has had a massive impact on my children.

“I was in a bad place when I first made contact with Whitegate as I could not leave the house and was desperately anxious about my baby becoming isolated too.

“The support from staff at Whitegate meant my elder son no longer needed to play such a huge supporting role as a carer and could get back to being a teenager.

“Two years on, I have a new found confidence and direction in life and have even started an evening course at Burnley College.

“I have seen the value, first hand, of the work staff do and I now want to be able to have a job where I can support others who are going through similar experiences to mine. I never dreamed I would be stable or strong enough to do all this.”

To have your say go to www.lancashire.gov.uk/haveyoursay.