Members of Unite will be joining campaigners and concerned families in a march to save 19 Sure Start children centres and up to 50 staff from the axe by Medway council tomorrow (Thursday 20 July).
The march, starting at 18:00 on Gun Wharf Road, Chatham, ME4 4TR, will head down Dock Road to Chatham’s St. George’s Centre, ME4 4UH, where Medway council is holding a public meeting and councillors will hold a final vote on the proposed closures.
Campaigners are concerned that the closure programme, which will see 19 local centres replaced by four ‘super hubs’, will restrict access to services and leave some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged ‘out in the cold’.
The centres provide a vital lifeline for children and families in the early years, offering a range of services to people from all backgrounds, including health visiting, speech and language therapy, social services early help provision, mental health support and domestic abuse services.
Medway council is understood to be seeking to save a million pounds through the closure programme.
Commenting Unite regional officer Kathy Walters said: “We urge Medway councillors to vote against the closure of these centres and step back from cuts which will restrict access to an essential community service.
“The loss of these vital Sure Start centres will not just impact on the parents and children who use them, but on other public services, such as the NHS, because there will be nowhere left for people needing help and support to turn.
“Councillors need to resist short-term cuts and look at the wider and long-term impact that cutting a vital lifeline will have on families.”
For further information please contact Unite regional officer Kathy Walters on 07568 108140
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.