Parents campaigning against cut in hours at Brentwood Library children’s group
�Parents are campaigning to reverse the slashing of hours at a children’s group.
Users of the Brentwood Library’s Daddy Cool sessions – also known as Nursery Rhyme groups – have launched a petition to try to reinstate the weekly meetings, which they say are vital for their children’s development.
Eva Rodriguez, one of those who started the campaign, said: “I have been taking my daughter Paloma, now 21 months old, to these sessions since she was a month old.
“At first, as I was on maternity leave, we were going to all sessions including the weekday ones and it was fantastic to see that even at her young age she was enjoying it and keeping her eyes widely open.
“After few months, things changed as I had to return to work and only the Saturday sessions were viable for us.”
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She added: “I was devastated when I found out that the sessions were cutting down drastically and that other local libraries were doing the same or removing them all together.
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“As a working parent I feel discriminated against that our children will only have the opportunity to enjoy this activity once a month at best.”
Brentwood borough councillor, Mike Le-Surf (Labour, Brentwood South) said: “Local working families feel very strongly about it due to the networking and support opportunities it gives them and their children.
“Tory cuts to services, especially around libraries, are a completely false economy.
“They break down the structures of our local community and make it harder for people to support each other.”
But Cllr Jeremy Lucas, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for customer service, environment and culture, said: “Essex Libraries is reviewing the events and activities carried out by its staff to ensure that the service remains in budget, allows some flexibility to meet the needs of customers and allows us to keep our libraries open despite economic constraints.
“In Brentwood, we will be continuing to offer Rhyme Times sessions twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays and Daddy Cool sessions – which dads are particularly invited to attend – once a month on a Saturday.”