08:08 Monday 24th September 2012
The Bigger Breakfast
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
PAUL STAINTON: Earlier we heard there are concerns over cuts to Children’s Services in the county, particularly when it comes to Children’s Centres. .. Back in May we spoke to parents in Peterborough, worried about cuts to Children’s Centres there, and sessions at a SureStart centre in Bretton were being cancelled. The organisation was asking for volunteers. Now we’ve been told that Copeland Children’s Centre in South Bretton in Peterborough was virtually shut all summer long, forcing parents to look elsewhere. Sarah Woodbine is one of those parents. .. Well, what did you do?
SARAH WOODBINE: Well luckily I’ve used different playgroups in different areas. But I am lucky because I can drive. Two children on a bus is not the best thing ever, so I’ve driven to other playgroups in different areas of the city.
PAUL STAINTON: So it was virtually shut all summer.
SARAH WOODBINE: It was shut. From July it was shut the whole of the summer. There were no sessions on there at all.
PAUL STAINTON: That’s just beyond belief. We heard earlier from Sue how important these centres are.
SARAH WOODBINE: They are really really important, especially for parents who maybe aren’t coping as well as they could be. Health visitors do go down to the Copeland Centre, or they did, on a Friday when there was a playgroup down there. So parents could discuss worries they were having, maybe, or just get a helping hand.
PAUL STAINTON: I thought they were promising to keep these centres open.
SARAH WOODBINE: Well yes, we’ve been promised this, but unfortunately now a full timetable has been cut to two sessions per week.
PAUL STAINTON: Wow! That’s not much at all, is it really?
SARAH WOODBINE: Well it’s an hour and a quarter on a Monday, and an hour and a half on a Friday.
PAUL STAINTON: But I suppose, you know, the people who are running it would turn round and say well there’s less money, what can we do? We’ve only got this amount of cash.
SARAH WOODBINE: Well I think they need to go back to their bosses then and say, this isn’t a 15% cut, like we’ve been told earlier. It’s a hell of a bigger cut than that.
PAUL STAINTON: What have other parents had to say to you?
SARAH WOODBINE: Everybody is really upset in the area. We had a very thriving happy Friday morning playgroup. Everybody knew each other. Everybody could go there and have a chat. It wasn’t just for the kids. It was about getting parents out and talking to each other as well. ..
PAUL STAINTON: Are you going to end up doing it yourself?
SARAH WOODBINE: I definitely think it is the way forward. Because we can’t rely on this government to keep supporting us. £40,000 they spent in Peterborough to let us see the Olympic Torch, and celebrate the Olympic Torch coming. Why? Why spend all that money? Everybody’s going on about legacy when we’re forgetting our children.
PAUL STAINTON: Sarah, a fine point that you make. .. We were unable to get hold of Spurgeons who run that particular centre in Bretton in Peterborough.