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Save our children’s centre protest is held

PUBLISHED: 13:46 29 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:07 29 September 2018

The save our children's centres protest in Great Yarmouth town centre
Picture: Anthony Carroll

The save our children's centres protest in Great Yarmouth town centre Picture: Anthony Carroll

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Save our centres!

That was the chant that rang through the centre of Great Yarmouth today as a demonstration was held against controversial plans to axe 46 of Norfolk’s 53 children’s centres.

Concerned parents joined the town’s Labour Party members as they asked people to sign a petition against the Norfolk County Council proposal to close the centres as part of children’s services review.

It could see schools, village halls, libraries and other buildings used to provide the services people currently get at children’s centres, along with visits to people’s homes and better online advice.

In the borough of Great Yarmouth five children’s centre face being closed.

Mike Smith-Clare with Sandy Lysaght and Kathryn Smith and children
Picture: Anthony CarrollMike Smith-Clare with Sandy Lysaght and Kathryn Smith and children Picture: Anthony Carroll

At the protest was Sandy Lysaght, 34 and whose four children have gone to or are going to the centres. She said she was “devastated” by the closures plan.

She said: “It is important for children to access the activities. You don’t feel judged by the staff, the staff are really helpful.”

Kathryn Smith, 23 and whose child Cleo goes to the Priory Children’s Centre, said: They (the centres) are a place where a lot of people need the advice and they have nowhere else to go.”

Mike Smith-Clare, Labour county councillor for Yarmouth Nelson and Southtown, said: “We had a huge turn out today with people concerned that that one stop shop that exists on their door step for health and education is going to be culled.”

Sandy Lysaght
Picture: Anthony CarrollSandy Lysaght Picture: Anthony Carroll

“To lose that lifeline is really saying we don’t care about communities and don’t see families as being important.”

Mr Smith-Clare said that a protest march through the town is being planned as part of the next stage of the save the centres campaign.

Norfolk County Council says it is proposing a new service that brings services out of children’s centre buildings and into the community, to the children and families who need them the most.

The seven centres which could remain are City and Eaton Children’s Centre in Norwich, Drayton and Taverham Children’s Centre, St Clement’s Children’s Centre in Terrington St Clement, Attleborough Children’s Centre, Long Stratton Children’s Centre, Seagulls Children’s Centre in Great Yarmouth and Holt Children’s Centres.

Kathryn Smith and Cleo
Picture: Anthony CarrollKathryn Smith and Cleo Picture: Anthony Carroll

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