Disclaimer: All views expressed in this article are my own!!
With the petition to save Worsbrough Common’s Rising Stars Children’s Centre rumbling along nicely and gaining more and more momentum, I just thought now would be a great time to pop my head above the parapet and make a few more points regarding Barnsley Council’s bafflingly stupid decision to close most children’s centres.
News came out recently that Barnsley Council had made the decision to close many of the boroughs children’s centres in favour of having central hubs. This in turn meant that jobs of hard working, dedicated people would be lost and children’s vital first steps into the local education system would be compromised.
I identified a few fantastic examples of Barnsley Council’s genius in my original blog post, but let’s take a few minutes to pick apart the baffling web that is the council thought process.
Before I go on, I just want to say that the idea for this post came after I found out that the council had splashed out a cool £20,000 on a few look-how-great-we-are posters for ‘just around the place’. Yeah. £20,000.
So, first the council are looking at revamping the town centre. I think all who have had the (mis)fortune of spending any time in Barnsley centre will attest to the fact that it needs sorting, however, when they are spending a whopping £50million on renovations, is it completely infeasible that these plans could be scaled back by a tiny bit in order to save that measly £2.5million that would keep the children’s centres open?
I suppose not, Barnsley Council can showboat with the new town centre and milk every last drop of publicity they get to make Barnsley look like a progressive and forward thinking place. I mean, how could they possibly show off the merits of Barnsley just by having children’s centres open and providing a invaluable service to the borough’s children.
I mean really! What’s a child’s education worth compared to some pretty looking shops? And besides, educated children may one day come for their jobs, and I’m sure the council would find that most disagreeable. Better to saw off that first rung of the ladder, eh. *Rolls eyes*.
This is just one example of where money could easily be saved. It’s not rocket science. Here let me have a go: “hmmm, I have £50million to spend and I need to save £2.5million…well lets not get the most expensive diamond cut paving that people aren’t even going to notice, and let’s plant a few less trees flown in especially from the mighty forests of British Columbia all the way to Barnsley, and let’s not bother with the inevitable unnecessary commissioned statue that some brightspark will no doubt propose.”
Boom, £2.5million and a bit change for chips. Done! See, not too hard!
This follows on from the £1.9million renovation of the area around the Town Hall…where they removed a car park, put a fountain and planted some flowers. Oh and erected a inevitable unnecessary commissioned statue that has since being nicknamed “the nit comb”. Okay, the “nit comb” got funding from elsewhere, and granted, it all looks very nice, but…£1.9million of nice?!?!
Also local news website wearebarnsley.com are reporting: “The old open market space has been transformed into a garden for a week of events. Barnsley Council has been planting lawns, hedge rows and trees in preparation, as part of the Love Your Local Market campaign. Entertainment will take place in the market garden each day, including stilt walking, music and art workshops.”
Without a doubt this is a nice idea, however I’m sure this will not have been a cheap for what is, after all, a week long installation. We’ll chalk that up as a bit of a waste of money too, shall we.
In an interview at the start of the year, councillor Steve Houghton said over the last five years the council’s workforce had plummeted due to the cuts and hundreds more jobs are to go as the council reins-in the purse strings on every department in order to make the savings. Hence the proposed children’s centre closures.
But then let’s not forget this is the same Steve Houghton that received £35,848.23 in allowances and expenses last year, with the council as a whole claiming more than £880,000. Oh and also councillors receive special responsibility pay if they take on additional duties such as the full-time positions on Barnsley’s cabinet, and roles on other council committees.
So they all need to buck their ideas up. Because we all know what happened to the last public servant that went bad…
Anyway, just wanted to point out these few things. If you’re petitioning and protesting, keep on at it. If it achieves nothing else at least it’ll give them a major headache.
Mind you, the council would probably claim for the paracetamol.
You can find an 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!!