Petition launched to save Lewisham's Children's Centres

A petition has been launched to save the Early Learning centres threatened with closure across Lewisham, including Beecroft Garden in Crofton Park. The petition explains:

"Lewisham Council is proposing to Ofsted-deregister 13 of the 17 existing Children's Centres in Lewisham. Besson Street Gardens, St Swithun’s, Heathside and Lethbridge, Evelyn, Amersham, Hatcham Oak, Manor House, Torridon, Marvels Lane, Kelvin Grove and Elliot Bank, Beecroft Garden and Kilmorie are all affected.

"If a Children's Centre is deregistered, then Health Visitors, Social Services and GPs can no longer refer vulnerable families to it for support....

"The Children's Centres are designed to support vulnerable families and have targets set around the support they offer, on both the number of families they help and how effective that help is. If families cannot be referred, the Centre cannot meet its targets and loses it purpose for being. Deregistration is effectively closure by stealth..."

"Fewer families will be included in the contracts for targeted support. As these will be families in need they will have fewer services to rely on in the borough and their needs may escalate, leading to poorer outcomes for children."

"This petition calls on Mayor Bullock to save our Children's Centres, and to commit to maintaining the services they provide to our most vulnerable families now and in the future."

Click here to sign the petition.

20 comments:

Anon said...

So a Labour council piles more pressure on the NHS, to score a political point. Maybe the Mayor could ask Labour supporters which had secret Swiss bank accounts to bail out these Children's Centres?
Maybe a local Estate Agent could donate half their commission from the sale of properties to foreign investors to fund these Children's Centres?

Monkeyboy said...

or perhaps central government drastically reduces funding and prevents local authorities increasing council tax so forcing local authorities to take the blame for reduction in services?

Anon said...

In 2006/2007 the same Lewisham Mayor quietly reduced funding to Lewisham Homes, at a time when the government was awash with money, no explosion of anger or pointing of fingers by the said Mayor.
The same Mayor that took 6-8 years to get to 2 stars for the housing service to qualify for Decent Homes funding which he said would automatically be made available by the previous government BUT that government put that money on hold to be 'reviewed' till after the general election. No squeals of anger from the Labour Mayor or councillors till a new government came into power and provided funding most likely inline with the previous government's thoughts.
Most politicians are not immune from feigning shock & outrage for politic purposes.
PS. This is a council that swept under the carpet for 9 months a report about it's housing services, the same council originally was not going publish a further report despite on the front page the Audit Commission stating it should be made public.
There are far too many politicians where themselves and their party comes first.

Tamsin said...

This does seem to be extreme short-termism - the value of early intervention to support families makes sense in public spending terms, let alone the cost of human misery. And rather than cutting funding, to change regulations that mean they don't get referrals is rather politically dishonest.

PeoplesAssemblySEL said...

Meanwhile argue about merits over baby cafes, children centres and councillors look for ways to reduce council services from some of the most vulnerable; meals on wheels, laundry service for the incontinent because 'there's no money' and 'cut must happen' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTnhdV-lIkw the 1% are enjoying the "Golden Age"

Lobby against cuts is on the evening Wednesday 25 February outside Lewisham Town Hall in Catford. Lets work as a community, offer no quibble solidarity to all the threatened services and say no to all cuts. We- the community and elected representatives decide what services remain in our community based on needs not enforced (and failing) austerity economics.

Brockley Nick said...

You do realise that the "golden age" line to which you are referring was a sarcastic joke / play on words, don't you?


As for "failed austerity", well, I suppose in some senses. But it hasn't failed half so much as ignoring the deficit would have.

PeoplesAssemblySEL said...

Another issue, that concerns

Face the Facts said...

Petitioners should not delude themselves - these service reductions will happen, and they have to happen. However the reason they are so drastic is the Council's short-termist approach and service over-expansion in the years when local government got bloated through having money lavished on it which it barely knew how to spend. The economic writing was on the wall some years ago and it was then that Lewisham should have started a carefully-managed programme of service reduction. Well-managed Councils are simply not having to cut in such a knee-jerk way, despite having to achieve similarly huge savings. However some of these savings could be achieved simply by doing things better, joining up services/management with neighbourning boroughs and so on. Come on Lewisham, ditch the politicking and think outside the box.

Voice of Reason said...

Reopen closed fire stations and libraries (Helen Mercer clip) - why? They've gone and we still seem to have enough. Let's have a lean, mean public sector that meets key needs, not a mollycoddling, bloated, public sector that means people are discouraged from standing on their own two feet and a high tax burden on hardworking people.

Abdoujaparov said...

Would be absolutely gutting if these Children's Centres closed. And so short-sighted - all the evidence suggests centres like these have positive outcomes for children and their families. Outcomes that will save the taxpayer money in the long-run.

Tamsin said...

Just to clarify. When I post here it is in my personal capacity as a resident of Greater Brockley. Kind of you to praise my employers, the Lewisham Pensioners Forum, but they should not be linked in any way, however remotely, to the views that I personally express. I don't want to post anonymously or under a random Alias but will have to do so if people cannot respect this.

Max Calò said...

Only that we live in a very complex society that needs management. Close children's centres and you'll have a few more disenfranchised children a few years down the line. We're about to lose a lot of park-keepers now, that means a loss in safety in the parks. Where do you draw the line between a key need and a unnecessary expenditure? Are you happy with the closures of children's centres and the loss of park keepers? In what way will this allow people to "stand on their own two feet" as you put it?

PeoplesAssemblySEL said...

Yes, our apologies, we have edited as appropriate.

Longtime Ladywell Resident said...

I agree absolutely, the Ward Assemblies must go. With associated staffing, publicity/printing and grants budget they must cost close to £0.5m and, in reality, they're just a prop for lazy Ward Councillors. Cutting this is a no-brainer.

PeoplesAssemblySEL said...

£110 million worth of cuts were made to the council budget in the first phase from 2010. If you choose to argue that there was 'service expansion' and 'bloated government'. That 'fat' was cut away <2014, a period when 25% of council jobs went, jobs like the Town Centre Managers and when the Crofton Park, New Cross Library became volunteer run and so on.

This period is 2014 -2018 a further £95 million is to be slashed. It will be painful the 'tough decisions'. The is beyond efficiency drives. The meals on wheels service is completely go. It was a shared service, between Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth, now the alternative proposals include to give the service used purchased ready meals from the supermarket.

And to the question, why are the cuts are so drastic in Lewisham, the formula Eric Pickles has used to fund councils penalises councils with high social needs, like Lewisham.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jan/30/local-government-cuts-poorest-areas

Brockley Nick said...

The town centre managers were absolutely useless. Achieved nothing, did nothing.

Tamsin said...

Thanks - now I need to do the editing, but can't because I post as a guest! Will probably have to change that habit. But not yet...

Abdoujaparov said...

Is it confirmed that Ofsted deregistration will not be forced on any centre? Wondering what the "not forced" bit means i.e. might centres still have to shut in practice?

Anon said...

Turns out the Council had no plans to close these centres....

"We have no plans, I repeat, we have no plans to close any of our children's centres."

Cllr. Paul Maslin Cabinet member for young people.
Why are Lewisham reducing their spending by £85m compared to only £11m in Bromley?
Bromley Council Tax: Band A = £872, Band D = £1010, Band H = £2020.
Lewisham Council Tax Band A = £906, Band D = £1359, Band H = £2718.

Brockley Nick said...

If you read the article it explains why deregistration would be closure by stealth.

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