From the TUC

Cuts Watch #356:Hundreds of Sure Start Centres are set to close

28 Jan 2011, by in Cuts Watch

Both Children and Young People and Community Care report today that a survey has revealed that up to seven per cent (250) Sure Start children’s centres could close within a year, while thousands are cutting back services and issuing redundancy risk notices.

A nationwide survey of Sure Start children’s centre managers across England, carried out by 4Children and Daycare Trust, found that 250 children’s centres are at risk of closure, a further 2,000 are cutting back the services they offer to families and 1,000 are issuing “at risk of redundancy notices” to staff. As many as 3,100 centres (86%) will have a decreased budget.

Anand Shukla, acting Chief Executive of Daycare Trust, said communities will be devastated if children’s centres close.

“Behind every children’s centre facing closure is a community of families devastated at losing one of their most valued local services.”

Anne Longfield, Chief Executive of 4Children, said:

“Families across the country, particularly the most vulnerable, depend on Sure Start children’s centres to help get their children off to the best start in life. We know that local authorities have some extremely difficult spending decisions to make but investment now will lead to real savings in the long term.” 

Frank Field MP, the government’s adviser on child poverty and life chances, said:

“It is inconceivable that we can make the foundation years effective if Sure Start children’s centres are being slaughtered. Local authorities must seek to employ innovative methods to ensure families – especially the poorest families – do not lose the vital support they need.”

The survey findings provide the first national data on the impact of public spending cuts to Sure Start children’s centres, and show us that children and families are being hit hard. As many as 60,000 families could lose their local centre.