Parents’ campaign to save children’s centre

PARENTS are warning that any cuts to children’s centres in Spen will leave families vulnerable and isolated.

As Kirklees tries to balance its books in the wake of government cutbacks of £83m over the next three years, a group of parents is urging the council to protect the SureStart centres.

A group from the Gomersal and Littletown centre, at St Mary’s School in Gomersal, has begun a petition and will be holding a peaceful protest outside the centre on Wednesday March 16.

Spokeswoman Hilary King said: “All we know is that there is to be a review of the services for the children’s centres and nurseries, so all we are hearing is rumours, but if they decide to merge centres then something is going to be cut.

“We are calling on Kirklees to save our centre from cutbacks and changes which would leave families more vulnerable and isolated.

“It is a valuable contact point for families, providing a range of activities such as Stay and Play sessions, where children build attachments and parents make new friends and enjoy activities together, learn how to share, communicate and socialise.

“There is also the One Stop Shop, with health visitors, baby weigh in, ante-natal, job centre plus, Citizens’ Advice Bureau, Children and Families Information Service, Domestic Violence Support and support for post natal depression.

“In addition there are outreach services from family support workers, a young parents’ group, return to learning courses, Money- wise and much more.

“If some of these services are cut, it will have a huge impact on families, their lives and their children’s future.

“The children’s centre was a lifeline to me, I suffered post-natal depression after the birth of my son, Lewis, and the centre helped me with my anxiety and panic attacks. It got me back my life, I went on courses and am now doing voluntary work.

“There are so many people it has helped, not least the children because it’s vital we get it right for them, and from a personal point of view I would not be where I am now, were it not for the SureStart centre.

A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “The drastic cut in government funding means that all councils must look for potential reductions in expenditure.

“Most areas of the council are being reviewed, including within services for children and young people.

“Proposals for children’s centres are part of the wider consideration being given to the overall financial position and the council intends to establish revised models of working, alongside other council services.

“We are now reviewing the position in terms of how best to deliver services from children’s centres as the funding has decreased.

“As yet there have been no decisions taken regarding closures.”

via Spenborough Guardian

Comments from the people of Kirklees on Council Cuts

OH dear! Some of our elected representatives appear to have lost their sense of perspective regarding their fellow citizens.

Consider the Examiner report on the protest by carers and disabled people against proposed cuts in services to vulnerable children and adults.

A group of desperate people, representing many others in similar situations, made their voices heard at Huddersfield Town Hall.Š According to councillors they were “rabble”, “loons’’ and “scaremongers”.

No! They were decent people driven to take desperate measures because of the threats to their health and sanity which any reduction of official support will create for them.

No-one likes to pay more for council services,Šnor to receive less from them, but we cannot avoid the present financial crisis.Š

Nevertheless, no-one will die because kerbside collection of bottles is stopped. No-one will be in physical danger because library services are cut.

It is not scaremongering to point out that the health and sanity of carers and those they look after are at risk if their support is cut.

Councillors who make a living from what used to be selfless public service and who resist any threat to their own financial benefits should beware of calling their fellow citizens “rabble”, “loons’’ or “scaremongers”.

These are the tactics of dictators.Š We should beware councillors who despise the voters who elected them.

Ernest Potter
Lindley

Power to the people

I WENT along to Huddersfield Town Hall to join the protest against the cuts planned by Kirklees Council. There was a noisy but good humoured protest outside until 5pm.

The protestors, including myself, went inside the building in the hope of being able to watch the councillors make £31m worth of cuts in spending – cuts that will devastate services for the most vulnerable sections of our society.

Once inside the lobby we were stopped from going upstairs to watch the councillors speak in favour of cuts, by security.

The people of Kirklees should take inspiration from the protests going on in the Middle East.

People power can make a difference and stop these immoral and unnecessary cuts in public spending. The government should chase up the £70 billion in unpaid taxes owed by big business before they start attacking essential services and the living standards of ordinary people.

Dr Dylan Murphy
Huddersfield

Cuts are so wrong

KIRKLEES Council voted through the budget cuts. Shame on them!

Do they know who they represented when they did this? They did not represent the majority of people who live in Kirklees.

They bowed to the interests of the rich and powerful and I hope their ‘yes’ vote will remain on their consciences for the rest of their lives.

This vote will mean extra hardship and misery to the poorest and most vulnerable in Kirklees.

They referred to the protest outside as ‘anarchy’.

Those of us outside Huddersfield Town Hall know we will have to resist these cuts all the way because it is clear we cannot rely on our representatives to stand with us.

Our collective resistance locally and nationally is the only way we have to defend against this Tory onslaught on our public services.

This was not anarchy. It was about taking responsible action on behalf of working class people in Kirklees.

This will not be forgotten. It is just a beginning. Those councillors who voted for these cuts showed a lack of intelligence, compassion and forgot what they were there for.

They should have done the decent thing and voted down these cuts.

Their stupidity will not help the economy one jot but it will help the ConDem Government plan to destroy public services.

The watchword is resistance! Get down to London to the TUC Demonstration on March 26. Contact your union for details.

June Jones
Kirklees save Our Services

‘Shameful’ decision

I REALLY feel for all the families who care for an adult with disabilities after their hard fought campaign to save the services they so desperately need.

I take no comfort in the fact my daughters left home at 18 to go to university and the only hands-on care I had was to do their washing once a term. I consider myself very lucky.

But I wish the councillors could also feel for the families. What I’ve tried to do when reading the stories in the paper from the families who understand is put myself in their shoes.

I do not have to bathe my adult daughters, I do not need to take them to the toilet or attend to their toilet needs. I don’t have the life-time responsibility for their daily wellbeing. If needed, I would do it all immediately like these families do. But because my daughters are able-bodied then they do those things themselves.

I’ve been heartened to read the stories from all the families because its made me realised that there is a lot of support, but that’s within the families and those who truly understand.

Sadly, the extra support these families need is being taken off them by people who have shown little consideration for the hundreds, if not thousands, of carers.

Why has our council gone to such expense for a consultation, only to go against the needs of the majority?

It shows that the councillors, in fact, have little say over what services the public receive. Either that or they’re too gutless to stand up for the public who they represent.

I hope every one of them hangs their heads in shame at turning their backs on the adults with disabilities and those who care for them.

Lesley Dunford
Huddersfield

Collect unpaid tax

KIRKLEES Council is to make drastic cuts to services for the most vulnerable people in the district, ie people with a learning difficulty.

Why does the council not take major steps to collect the millions of pounds in unpaid Council Tax. If they did so, services could be maintained at the present level.

W J Britton
Skelmanthorpe

via Huddersfield Examiner

Scaremongering over Birkenshaw Free school places

A Letter to the Spenborough Guardian from Whitcliffe Mount Parent’s Association.

We read the article in last week’s Guardian about registering for the proposed free school.

Unless things have changed dramatically since we last heard anything this school has not yet been approved.

As far as we are aware the group looking to set up this so-called free school has been given approval to progress to the second stage of the application process.

Since then, after representations from locally interested parties with concerns, they have been asked to re-test the level of support/demand in the area. We do not consider the scaremongering approach of the article to be any kind of consultation.

The suggestion that you can now register and that if you do not hurry up and register then you might not get a place is downright misleading. There is no agreed or published admissions policy for the proposed school so how can anyone register?

This is a devious and underhand way of getting unsuspecting parents to appear to ‘support’ the proposed school. Nowhere in any of their literature do they explain that the local authority is currently providing sufficient places for all children in the current Whitcliffe Mount catchment (including Birkenshaw, Gomersal and East Bierley). Setting up this school will create 800 surplus places, places that will have to be funded by the local authority.

The diversion of authority funds to the ‘free’ school experiment, hard on the heels of the cruel withdrawal of the BSF funding for North Kirklees schools is impossible to justify, no matter how well it’s camouflaged.

How can it be right that at a time when all local services are being squeezed that the government can spend tens of millions of pounds on a school that is not necessary?

The Whitcliffe Mount Parents Alliance believes in a fair education for all children in North Kirklees, the proposed school will not provide this, it will in fact take funding away for Whitcliffe Mount a school that has already lost all its BSF investment under this government.

Please support our campaign Not Free, Not Here, and Not Now, and do not be tricked into ‘registering’ at the school gates!

via Spenborough Guardian

Kirklees SOS Day of Action

Saturday 5th March 12noon meeting at Market Cross in Huddersfield city centre.

We will be leafleting, talking, agitating and discussing about how cuts will be affecting us and what we can do about it all around the town centre.

We urge people to come and join us in doing this (even if its only for 30 mins) as we need to build for the March 26th demo in London as well as building up the movement in general in Kirklees.

via Kirklees SOS

Save Our Libraries

It would be unfeasible here to document all the actions, noise and silences that took place across the country on ‘Save Our Libraries’ day (5th Feb). Here are a couple of links to follow for ideas of what happened then and what could still happen in Kirklees.

Not the cuts but the resistance…
publiclibrariesnews.blogspot.com
voicesforthelibrary.org.uk
guardian save-our-libraries-day-live-coverage
Hitler versus library campaigners video

Mirfield library’s ‘Read-in’ ranks on a level 3 on the Grandiad’s interactive map – “An organised read-in with more than 20 people”. In fact, over 50 people turned up at Mirfield library over the two hours. People read out library or learning related passages from their favourite books and poems and letters were handed out to be signed and sent to Mehboob Khan.

Over 500 public libraries across the country are currently under threat or have been closed. Whilst 180 brand new libraries are being built in South Korea as part of a campaign to promote reading. Not necessarily relevant but interesting nonetheless.

Of more local interest will be Kirklees’ response. In a joint statement about their budget proposals the council says “Unlike many other areas of the country our objective is that libraries will not be cut now (my emphasis). We are all committed to helping the most vulnerable in society.” and later in the same statement “Unlike many areas across the country libraries will not be cut right now. But we will look at how library services can best be provided in future.”

Glib statements which mean nothing. Don’t forget there are local elections coming up in May and Kirklees councillors have had a chance to see how communities have reacted on being told their libraries are closing. There’s a lot of work to be done to protect and continually improve the library service in Kirklees.

The easiest way is to use them.

  • take books / cds / dvds out
  • attend events
  • ask librarians to buy books which are not currently in stock
  • use the computer facilities to write letters to councillors and mp’s
  • access this website and the sites it links to
  • leave the ‘Save Our Services’ page open on your screen whilst you look for a book
  • organise a ‘Read in’
  • start a ‘Friends of Kirklees Libraries’ group

via Kirklees Save Our Services

Protest at Kirklees Council Budget Meeting Against Proposed Cuts

Wednesday 23rd February from 4.30pm
Meet outside Huddersfield Town Hall

It is vitally important you attend if you want your voice heard! The new budget will set out devastating cuts throughout Kirklees and we should turn out to demand that the cuts are not implemented. There are alternatives, so lets put pressure on the politicians. Remember, they represent us, and they should do what the people who live, work and study in Kirklees want them to do!

via Kirklees Save Our Services

Paper-cuts Against Cuts