Parents to take action over ‘at risk’ kids centres in Havering

ANGRY parents are campaigning to keep the borough’s children’s centres safe from the threat of closure.

Parents’ group Netmums Havering is taking action to try and save the 14 centres that are at risk.

Havering Council is currently carrying out a review of their services following the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review last year.

It meant all councils’ budgets were drastically slashed and they had to make savings.

The provision of children’s centres is one of those currently under review locally.

Nicky Jones, editor of Netmums Havering, said: “Mums tell us that they don’t want to lose their local centres but aren’t too sure on how to go about saving them.

“That is the reason why we came up with our campaign.

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“We are telling mums that if they want to protect and keep their local children’s centres, now is the time to find out what is happening and stand up and take action.

“We are giving mums an easy five-point action plan and showing them how they can get together and really make a difference.

“We will also support local campaigns and help spread the word through the site.

“For so many mums the centres have made a real difference to their lives, not only in terms of providing much-needed advice and support, but as a place they can go to meet other families, forge new friendships and feel less isolated in their local community.”

Nicola Lamond, also from Netmums, added: “Children’s centres are really important. We know this from speaking to mums who say this is vital support for the community and families.

“People are not happy that they may be closed down.

“They are a lifeline for anyone who has a toddler and wants to meet other mothers. It’s important as a new mum.”

Councillor Paul Rochford, cabinet member for children’s services at Havering Council, said: “The Government has made significant changes to how it funds services through grants, including the one for children’s centres.

“It has taken some time to get the details of these changes and we are currently working through them.

“We are reviewing all of our children’s services and will be publishing a new financial plan in the summer.

“No decisions have been made.”