A handy Frequently Asked Questions on the proposed closures of the children’s centres in Lambeth.
What’s happening to our children’s centres?
There are currently 23 children’s centres in Lambeth. Under the current proposals, 5 children’s centres will be closed, seven more will have their service provision cut in half, and staff across the borough will lose their jobs.
The remaining 18 children’s centres will be reorganised into six geographical clusters. Each cluster will have one children’s centre staff team to work across the entire cluster.
Which children’s centres are under threat?
|The five centres threatened with |
· Coin Street, Bishop’s ward
· Heathbrook, Clapham Town
· Lark Hall, Larkhall ward
· Sunnyhill, Streatham Wells
· Weir Link, Thornton ward
|The seven centres facing cuts:|
· Crown Lane, Knight’s Hill
· Effra, Herne Hill
· Jessop, Herne Hill
· Rosendale, Thurlow Park
· Streatham Hub, St Leonards
· Treehouse, Brixton Hill
· Woodmansterne, Streatham South
What services do children’s centres provide?
· Stay ‘n’ Play; Tiny tunes; Soup and Story; Wriggle and Rhyme; Messy Play; Sensory Room – for babies and children of different ages
· Stay ‘n’ Play provided for different parts of the community, including Polish, Portuguese and Spanish speakers, and Muslim families.
· Diet and nutrition: weaning and starting on solid foods
· Speech and language therapy
· Child health services
· Breastfeeding support for new mums
· Post-natal depression support groups
· LGBT parents group
· Under 20s stay ‘n’ play, for young parents.
· Art therapy and counselling for families with children under 5.
· Advice and support for financial and debt management
· ESOL classes and other training and employment support
These are services provided at the five centres currently earmarked for closure. The seven centres facing cuts, with have their provision cut in half – only remaining open for either the morning or the afternoon, rather than both.
Why are children’s centres important?
· Fun for kids!
The children’s centres offer children the opportunity to get out of their usual environment and spend time with other kids their own age.
· Community integration and development
Our children’s centres offer support to families that use English as a second language, that are new to the area, or have specific needs. It means that they can meet others in their local area, while learning new skills.
· Combating isolation and loneliness
The people most likely to suffer from acute loneliness and isolation are mothers with new babies, which are linked to depression and other mental health problems. Children’s centres offers them, and other members of the family, a space where they can meet other parents and carers.
· Providing support for vulnerable families
Children’s centres offer therapy and counselling sessions for children and families, as well as providing Better Start sessions where families can be given guidance on how to access further support for children in need of early intervention or specific services.
Children’s centres are open to all families, and offer their services for free or at very low cost. A lot of the sessions are targeted at the most vulnerable families in our community, and losing them would mean that families are left isolated and unsupported.
What are we doing to stop the cuts?
Lambeth Save our Services and Lambeth UNISON are launching a campaign against the cuts to children’s centres. Lambeth Council are running a public consultation until 10th February 2019, and make their decision on whether to implement the proposals at the Cabinet meeting in April.
We plan to organise a huge public campaign comprising demonstrations, lobbies of councillors and council meetings, and other actions!
How can you get involved?
· Attend our campaign meeting!
Saturday 12th January, 11am-1pm
PAPA’s Park, 10-17 Pulross Rd, London SW9 8AF
Food and crèche provided!
Facebook event: www.fb.com/events/311807709427648/
· Join our demo!
Saturday 26th January, 11am-1pm
Meet in Windrush Square, Brixton – bring placards!
Face-painting and balloon-modelling for children at the start.
Facebook event: www.fb.com/events/332878287297069/
· Help us with leafletting!
We will be leafletting children’s centres and the streets of Lambeth. If you want some leaflets to distribute in your area, get in touch!
· Sign and share our petition!
Ruth Cashman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Rogers: email@example.com /