Westminster Conservatives are planning cuts of £775,000 to services to children and young people as £3.3 million is axed from Children’s Services budget.
The planned cuts to front line services are:
• £500,000 will be cut from the Children’s Centres
• £150,000 will be cut from the Play Service
• £125,000 will be cut from Youth Services
The planned cuts have already sparked off petitions from parents using the Mickey Star and Essendine Centres.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said:
“These cruel cuts are not necessary and are not supported by parents. The Conservatives have got their priorities completely wrong. The Council could continue these vital services to children and young people by stopping its current wasteful expenditure on the ‘Westminster Reporter’ Council propaganda magazine and cutting its bloated £2 million a year public relations department.”
Essendine Parents say:
“The Essendine stay and play facilities should remain open to everyone for the following reasons:
1. Essendine performs a vital social and community support function bringing people together from across the spectrum to share their experiences and help each other. Removing this local service for families in the newborn to 2 years will leave people, and new mothers in particular, vulnerable.
2. The need for support and help is not just a function of income. The need for support and help is also based on your ability to cope with a young child. Many parents in the Maida Vale area do not have any local family support.
3. Having a child shrinks your world. Just getting out of the house can be a challenge in itself, so services need to be easily accessible, not a mile away.
4. Health visitors alone can’t perform this vital social and community support function. They don’t have the time or resources as their services are already over stretched.
5. If Essendine stay and play facility is closed, where will people go if the other centres are already at capacity? We need safe play space.”
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Mickey Star Parents say:
“Mickey Star Children’s Centre is purpose built, excellently equipped, community focused children’s centre that provides a range of very important, much in-demand and highly treasured drop-in informal sessions 6 days a week for local families with children under the age of 5 years.
Westminster City Council in their perceived wisdom have decided to stop all the services provided by the children’s centre and replace it with a nursery specifically and only for government funded 2 year old places. This means a transition from the current universal service provided by the drop-in into a service that would only cater for eligible 2-year old children. It’s worth mentioning that this is not the demographic that attends the centre at the moment but in no way does it mean that these families are not in need of the overall support that centre has provided thus far in the parents’ quest to bring up well adjusted, happy and blossoming kids.
This majority of current users rely on Micky Star as the centre of their social development for their young children will be displaced with no viable replacement, as they simply do not qualify for funded 2 year old nursery places.
We understand Westminster’s reasoning and motivation for their actions, however there are currently purpose built children’s nurseries within close proximity of the centre that remain empty and unused.
We need as much help and voices as possible to keep our critically need resources at the Mickey Star Children’s Centre open and to encourage Westminster to utilise the empty nurseries without causing unnecessary trauma to families within our community. One of the many steps we are taking is the signing of this online petition. Please, help us have our voices heard!”
You can sign the petition here https://www.change.org/p/westminster-council-keep-mickey-star-drop-in-children-centre-open?recruiter=16867734&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition