Stoke & Staffordshire

Campaign to save Sure Start centres in Stoke-on-Trent

A campaign has begun to save children's centres which have been threatened with closure.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has proposed closing seven of its 16 Sure Start centres as it makes potential savings of £33m.

Melissa Baydilly from the new Save our Children's Centres campaign (SCC) said the facilities were "vastly important" and it would fight all closures.

The council said it did not want to close the centres but had to make cuts.

The centres, which the council said would lose ring-fenced government funding next year, provide childcare, education and support for parents with youngsters aged under six.

The closure of seven centres, with the loss of some jobs, is among a list of proposals which are under public consultation until next month.

February budget

Ms Baydilly said the new campaign would work hard so that everyone would "know the name" of SCC.

"We are not losing seven [centres] - we're not losing any of them," she said.

"We are keeping our centres as they are, with the services that are in our centres because to us they are vastly important."

Debra Gratton, a Labour city councillor responsible of children's services, said the move was currently only a proposal and the budget would not be formalised until February.

"We really don't want to be closing children's centres anyway, it's only because of the cuts that the city council is receiving that it is having to be looked at," she said.

The council, which is run by a Labour-led coalition, plans to cut more than 700 jobs as it faces making potential savings of £33m.

Councils is still waiting for final details of the Spending Review.

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