Protestors in Kent are fighting against council plans to close 19 children’s centres and replace them with four so-called “super hubs”.
Medway Council is holding a consultation after announcing it would seek to save £60,000 from the budget for the area’s Sure Start centres to help pay for commemorative celebrations for the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway.
Councillors have conceded the cuts could put some jobs at risk, but Andrew Mackness, the Conservative lead member for children’s services, has claimed the new streamlined “super hubs” would provide “a better range of services”.
Labour’s spokesman Adam Price said the consultation had been timed to happen when many families with pre-school children were off on summer holidays.
When parents are depressed and exhausted because they have tiny babies, they need to be able to go these services
Anna Morell, a mother protesting outside Medway Council building earlier this week, said many parents found the extra help in the early years indispensable.
“It’s critical that we save our backyard Sure Start centres,” she told The Kent Messenger. “When parents are depressed and exhausted because they have tiny babies, they need to be able to go these services in their neighbourhoods. They do not have the time, energy, or money to go off to a super hub.”
“Super hubs will not provide the diversity of services nor the strong sense of community that these services foster when they are in neighbourhoods,” she added.
Council bosses have revealed the Battle of Medway commemorations would also require clawing £100,000 from the local authority’s crematoriums.
It seems that exalting the long-dead has been deemed more important than tending to the recently deceased.