Save our children’s centres

UNISON campaign highlights closure of over 600 children’s centres since 2010

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, visiting Bemerton Children’s Centre in Islington, London

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis today visited the staff and children at Bemerton children’s centre in Islington to lend his support to UNISON’s campaign to protect Sure Start children’s centres.

He saw firsthand the great work that the centre is doing in supporting children and families.

But Mr Prentis commented: “I know in many areas of the country children’s centres have faced savage cuts, with over 600 centres closing since 2010.

“It’s not just about buildings though, the most important thing about the centres has always been the staff and children within them.

“Staff are also telling us that services that were once free are now being charged for; a policy that is affecting those most in need of support from children’s centres and those least able to pay.

“We are fearful that further government funding cuts will mean much of the progress made through the early investment in centres going to waste as key staff are lost, along with their skills and experience.

“UNISON is committed to defending children’s centres and helping the communities that depend on them.”

Christina Partridge, a UNISON member who has worked at the centre for nine years said, “I have seen the real difference that children’s centres make in helping families. They are so important in helping not just the children, but whole families.

“Having services on one site has helped build networks of support, particularly for single parents. Having an onsite nursery and keeping services like ‘stay and play’ has been vital in keeping parents involved in their children’s development.”