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Protestors march through Great Yarmouth in rally against proposal to shut 46 children’s centres

PUBLISHED: 15:22 10 November 2018

Families and children protesting against the closure of Children's Centres ready to march through Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Families and children protesting against the closure of Children's Centres ready to march through Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

Protestors marched through Great Yarmouth today in a rally against proposals which could shut dozens of children’s centres across Norfolk.

Protesters against the closure of Children's Centres march through Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYProtesters against the closure of Children's Centres march through Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The protest showcased the unity of the community in fighting the possible closures, according to organiser Cllr Mike Smith-Clare.

In September, Norfolk Couny Council bosses revealed proposals for a review of the service, which could see 46 out of the county’s 53 centres closed.

After meeting at St George’s Park in the town on Saturday morning, the group marched to the Minster in protest.

Cllr Smith-Clare, Labour lead for children and young people, had previously urged people to get involved and not to “ignore the needs of our county’s families.”

He said: “It was absolutely superb. We had a fantastic turn out today with a lot of families, parents and general members of the community.

“We wanted to bring them all together to really shout about how important these children’s centres have been in their lives and the impact they have had on them.

“It is because of that great impact that so many people cannot see it go. They want to make sure they are kept to help.”

Since the announcement, the proposals have been met with opposition from parents, protestors and parish councils, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn backing the fight during a visit last month after calling the proposals “disastrous.”

Cllr Smith-Clare said: “There was well over 100 people who turned up and the lovely thing was it wasn’t just the council getting involved.

“There were families and children with homemade placards. They were real members of the community who wanted to show how important these centres are and I want to say a huge thank you to every one of them.

“The Great Yarmouth community wanted to say ‘listen to us’ and keep the children’s centres and we have shown that today.”

The county council says schools, village halls, libraries and other buildings would be used to provide the services people currently get at children’s centres, along with visits to people’s homes and better online advice, stressing the move is about getting the right help to children and families.

Protesters against the closure of Children's Centres march through Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYProtesters against the closure of Children's Centres march through Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The proposals are currently out for consultation, which ends on Monday November 12. To respond, go to: https://norfolk.citizenspace.com/consultation/childrenscentres-2

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