On Tuesday morning this week, December 15, I visited the Rye Children’s Centre after a local resident invited members of Rye Town Council to attend. Another town councillor attended with me, but this is my personal view.
East Sussex County Council (ESCC) is proposing to cut many paid staff and the council-run drop in centres. This is another result of the cuts imposed on local government by central government in Westminster.
There has been much information in the local and national media about the cuts proposed to adult social care, but little mention of care for our youngest citizens and their parents.
The children’s centres are to lose the paid staff that ran activities at the centres. Instead there will be paid volunteer organisers who will oversee and train local volunteers. If the volunteers are not forthcoming, the centre will close.
ESCC claims that it will focus on families who most need support. This sounds good, but many families gain soft skills at the centres, and the children learn to mix with adults outside the family group and other children.This should mean that they are more confident when they start school. ESCC has decided that the Children’s Centres and the Health Visiting services are to be combined. This should ensure that the Health Visitors can see which families need help.
All very good, but what happens if the Children’s Centre closes? Unfortunately, consultation closes on Friday December 17. It looks as if ESCC has already decided how it is going to save money. If our youngest citizens get assistance early in life, they have more chance of leading a successful and fulfilling life. But do our politicians really care?
Photo: Ray Prewer. Ray Prewer is a Rye Town Councillor