Nursery battle hots up ...

CAMPAIGNERS are calling for a meeting with the leader of Calderdale Council over proposals to withdraw funding from a nursery in Brighouse.

Councillor Colin Stout (Ind, Brighouse) would like a public meeting with the leader Coun Tim Swift, Coun Megan Swift, cabinet member for Children’s Social Care and Coun Colin Raistrick chair of children and young people scrutiny panel to discuss the proposals to withdraw the subsidy from the day-care provision at Wellholme Park Sure Start Centre.

Parents are outraged over the proposals which also include five other sure start centres including the one at Field Lane, Rastrick. A campaign has been set up by parents of children who attend Wellholme as part of a 90-day consultation.

“I am hoping to organise this meeting as soon as possible.

“I also want to suspend the consultation too because it is unfortunate that two weeks has been taken out over Christmas,” said Coun Stout.

“I want to give parents the chance to ask councillors questions and to find out what facilities are going to be provided.”

He said if the facility did have its funding withdrawn it could mean the nursery closing, and therefore people on low incomes that take their children to the nursery will either have to give up work or find somewhere else on a low budget.

“We are constantly being told by the government to get people into work rather than sitting at home with benefits, so what do they do? Cut the legs from under people by shutting Sure Start centres.

“I cannot see the reason for cutting the funding for the most vulnerable part of our society, the young.

“We need to give them the best start in life.

“I know the government is cutting the grant but I am sure they could cut if from somewhere else. We have got to start looking at priorities properly.”

Councillor Scott Benton (Con, Brighouse) is also campaigning to keep the nursery open.

He said: “The decision to remove funding from the Children’s Centre will potentially mean that it will have to close.

“This would be absolutely devastating for the many local parents who rely on the Centre and the excellent care that it provides.

“I know that as a Council we have to make savings but I feel that these could be achieved in this department without impacting upon frontline services in this way. I completely support the parents in trying to keep the Centre open.”