Please help save Oxfordshire’s Children’s Centres

Latest newsflash

meme9830785455This is a critical time for the save the children’s centres campaign. Thanks to your efforts we have secured an extra £2 million which is intended to go towards children’s centres and early intervention hubs. But there’s a possibility that it will instead be spent elsewhere. So we are launching a drive to get as many people as possible to write to their county councillor, reminding them where they promised this money would be spent. You can download a template letter and find your local county councillor here.

Background

The County Council plans to make a massive £8 million in cuts from its children’s early intervention budget and close all Oxfordshire’s 44 Children’s Centres.
Children’s Centres offer very well-established and invaluable resources for all families. They are a welcoming social hub that is open to all, providing essential support and services, as well as self-help and peer support, within a manageable distance. At the moment they are open to all families whenever they need it.

The council plans to replace them with a limited referral service only. If you’re a parent, however, you’ll know that at some point we’re all parents in need! And when we need help, we need it fast – we don’t always have the time to wait, or know where to go for a referral. As well as supporting all families in the vulnerable early years, universal services help families in greater need become visible. They can be assisted with additional services without stigma, and children are kept safe, preventing crises being reached. Children’s Centres are a vital investment for a happy and healthy community. Through a reduction in the demand on the NHS (GPs and A&E), and child and adult care services the saving is already there. Closing the Children’s Centres is a false economy.

The council have agreed a budget but it’s not yet a done deal – we can save the Centres if there is a public outcry. Most of the current councillors are not young parents! We need to remind them just how vital the children’s centres are.

Who are we?

We are a concerned group of parents with young children, child minders, grandparents and the general public. We are looking for support from anyone who feels this issue is important, whether you’ve used the centres or not. Please see our get involved page if you are keen to help, or have a story to tell.

Children’s Centre Services

The Children’s Centre services provide a wide range of support for the varied needs of parents and children in all Oxfordshire’s communities. These include:

  • Stay & Play & outdoor play
  • Health Visitor drop-in clinics
  • Information and advice to support individuals into employment and/or training
  • Ante-natal support and talks e.g. breast feeding advice
  • Mobile library
  • Parent support and outreach work i.e. family support provided both at the centre and in the home setting
  • Structured parenting courses
  • Midwife
  • Young parent group
  • Breastfeeding support (Baby Café)
  • Maths & English courses for adults
  • Childminders social group
  • Speech & language therapy
  • PEEP
  • ESOL
  • Baby group (Bumps & babies)
  • OXPIP 1:1 postnatal support
  • Healthy lifestyles & cookery courses
  • Weaning advice sessions
  • Dads’ groups
  • First aid courses
  • Hearing impairment support
  • Cleft palate support
  • Baby massage
  • Childcare / crèche
  • Jobcentre services
  • Affordable warmth advice
  • Mental health support
  • Freedom programme
  • Family contact meetings