U-turn could save nursery

Parents gather at Wellholme Park Surestart Centre to campaign against the potential closure of the nursery
Parents gather at Wellholme Park Surestart Centre to campaign against the potential closure of the nursery

LABOUR councillors will be calling for a re-think on proposals to remove the subsidy from the day care provision at six children’s centres in Calderdale.

On Monday the group, the largest on Calderdale Council, will be asking for a U-turn over the proposals which affected children at the six children’s centres including Wellholme in Brighouse and Field Lane at Rastrick.

Parents at Wellholme had set up a campaign to battle against the proposals and had collected more than 2,000 signatures on a petition.

Helen Fulcher who led the campaign said it was fantastic news. “The parents have worked very hard and we have got other suggestions we can put forward about where they could look at the funding,” she said.

“This is the best news we could possibly have and we have to thank the Labour party for listening to us.

“I am over the moon and it is the best news ever. We are all thrilled. It is a sensible approach from the council considering the Government’s announcement this week about child care.”

The parents would like to thank everybody who signed the petition and everyone who turned up for their Santa sing along and to their ward councillors.

Councillor Ann Martin (Labour, Brighouse) was also delighted that common sense had prevailed. “We are angry that the council has been put in such a difficult position by the Government. We are a listening party after all and following the consultation we have decided to reinstate the subsidy. .

“We will have to find the money we would have saved from removing the subsidy from somewhere else in the budget. I am just pleased that the day care subsidy is being reinstated.”

Councillor Megan Swift, cabinet member for children’s social care, said they had heard from a lot of parents. “They have told us just how important this day care is to them, and how they will struggle if it is lost as a result of the withdrawal of the subsidy.

“That’s why we think the council should take back the present proposals and have a longer look at how we can find a better way forward.

“We have always said that front-line services for young children and their families are a priority, and that’s the message that has come back to us loud and clear during the consultation process.

“So despite the reductions in Government funding through cuts to the Early Intervention and Revenue Support grants, we want to try and make sure that high quality day care remains available for every family that wants it.”

She added that it didn’t mean that there would not be further discussions and possible changes to the way day care is provided.

“But Labour councillors will not be supporting the withdrawal of the subsidy if it risks any of these centres closing in September this year. We want to see a lot more consultation with parents and staff to develop new proposals for each of the centres that are at risk,” she said.