Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Mothers' bid to save Hampshire SureStart child centres

Two Hampshire mothers have launched a campaign to save children's centres across the county.

Hampshire County Council is considering closing 28 SureStart centres, which offer support for parents, to save £6m a year.

Catherine Ovenden and Kate Reynolds, who live in Southampton, have launched a petition and are creating a website to try to change the authority's mind.

The women are hoping to collect 32,000 signatures opposing the changes.

The women have already set up a Facebook group which has more than 370 followers.

Kate Reynolds, who uses the Windmill Centre in Bursledon, suffered from post-natal depression after her second child and said it would have been much worse without the support of the centre and other mothers she met there.

The mother of two said: "The support [offered by the centres] may be financial support, job seeking support, child development issues, nutritional advice - it's all areas of under-five family life."

Hampshire County Council wants to reduce the number of centres from 81 to 53, focussing services on more deprived areas.

The Conservative-led authority needs to save £55m during 2011-12.

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