Close the children’s centres? Genius idea, Barnsley Council! Not.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this article are my own!!

Education is of utmost importance in any young life, so therefore that initial contact with the education system via children’s centres is of even greater importance. It is one of the very first baby steps on a journey that will see them learn, develop and grow into a well rounded member of society. So…why are Barnsley Council closing a majority of these invaluable children’s centres down?!

Where children’s centres work well, they have the ability to transform the lives of families for the better and improve outcomes for the future – particularly by assisting and supporting the earliest years of a child’s life where the opportunities to further improve the quality of their development are greatest.

And clearly Barnsley Council understand this, with their website reporting that they “understand the importance of services delivered by Children’s Centres and the role they play in family life. The quality and access to services for our youngest children is important to make sure they have the best possible start in life.

Which is why, I assume, they made the brilliant decision to close down and scale back many of the borough’s Children’s Centres in favour of having several central hubs dotted around here and there. Hardly convenient, is it.

So yeah, round of applause for Barnsley Council decision makers. will the pencil pushers that made the decision to close down Worsbrough Common Rising Stars Children’s Centre and other similar, equally important children’s centres please stand up and take a bow. Job well done.

Isn’t sarcasm brilliant.

Central ‘hubs’ will be opened, which may seem like a great money saving idea (to them) but there will be staff that have been made redundant battling for jobs. Not to mention parents battling for their child a space at these central hubs. The long and short of it is a lot of people will end up missing out here.

Of course the council will argue that there is a consultation period in which the public can voice their opinions and they will duly listen and nod sympathetically at the concerns. They will say that nothing is set in stone and it is all subject to change and not to get our knickers in a twist etc etc etc.

Well I’m not trying to make friends in the Council, I’m not trying to cultivate in-roads with these people, and I have no obligation to respect or care for the decisions they make. Therefore I’ll happily say that I think that them deciding to cut back on children’s centres is a stupid, backwards, ill-conceived, money grabbing decision.

I also think that this ‘consultation period’ is a formality, and they have done all their sums and made up their minds and no amount of public outcry will make a difference, and that people will only lose even more respect for a council that only keeps a half-arsed eye on the failing, scummy, decaying town that Barnsley is becoming while cushioning their all important coffers.

I mean, what does it matter that genuine, hard working people will be out of a job? What does it matter that the local community will have to battle for childcare at these ‘hubs’? Eh, Barnsley Council? You just worry about you and your money, that’s probably for the best.

Granted, I don’t purport to know the full in’s-and-out’s of the situation, but what I do understand is that this is going to unfairly effect a lot of people, cause a lot of unnecessary disruption and upset, and all for what? To save a relatively miniscule £2.5million. Surely there are better areas to cut back on?!

Oh, and lets not mention knocking down a perfectly good library to build a new college so they can knock down the perfectly good old college and rebuild another library. Another thumbs up there, BMBC!

But despite all of this I still implore you to kick up a fuss about the decision. The heartfelt message on an online petition form set up by Worsbrough Common Rising Star Children’s Centre reads:

Barnsley council has proposed closure on our much needed children’s centre! The family support workers and outreach workers offer valuable support to people in the surrounding area! They offer valuable groups for families with babies and young children. Including two highly attended playgroups at two locations! Baby groups such as massage, and parenting courses ie prams to primary and coping with kids course. Plus many more! Without these groups parents would not receive this support in this area. They have a dedicated highly attended day nursery. For working families. Plus they offer the funding for 2 year old scheme. The nursery has one of the proposed highest attendances of children in Barnsley. It makes no sense for this centre to close! We need BMBC to sit up and listen to the people and voice of Worsbrough Common! To save what is needed in this community! Please sign this petition in the hope to save our children’s centre! THANKYOU!!

You can find the online consultation process form here. It runs until midnight on Friday 26 June. Also be sure to sign THIS ONLINE PETITION to keep Worsbrough Common Rising Stars (one of the towns biggest, busiest, and most well equipped children’s centre) open and benefiting the community for years to come.

Oh and here comes that all important disclaimer again…
All views expressed in this article are my own!!

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