Free activities at Havering’s children’s centres stop despite opposition

Most of the free activities at Havering’s children’s centres came to an end this week despite opposition from angry parents.

Parents and their children marked their last day at many of the centres after the council’s decision to stop them this summer.

Kimberley Dimond who has been attending the group in Diban Avenue, Elm Park, with her baby daughter once a week for the past nine months, said:“Where are the mums in the area supposed to go now?

“Me and some friends usually attend the Elm Park centre, but have used the ones in Airfield Way and South Hornchurch too.”

Parents were told at the end of last month by staff, that their mother and baby groups would be closing.

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Havering Council said that the closures would mean that they could concentrate on the most vulnerable children and families.

Last Wednesday parent Emma Wilkin, who goes to groups at the Elm Park and Upminster centres with her baby daughter quizzed the Leader of the Council Michael White about the decision at the ask the cabinet meeting in Havering Town Hall in Main Road, Romford.

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She said: “All the parents are very upset about it.

“I feel like going to the groups is my life at the moment and it’s all going to stop, I honestly think that if these groups weran’t there I would have got post natal depression.”

The council is hoping that many of the activities will be taken over by parents, but Emma says that there has been a lack of information.

She said: “I am a qualified nursery nurse and I don’t mind helping to run some of the activities, but someone needs to sit down and talk to us about it.”

Leader of the Council, Michael White said: “We are reviewing the use of children’s centres.

“We have 13 of them in the borough, quite clearly we are in a situation where we have to look at our budgets.

“We have to make savings and it’s important that we look after the most vulnerable, it’s not a decision we have taken lightly, but I believe that it is the right and proper decision.”

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