Mums speak out over closure of 11 Wakefield Council children’s centres

A protest in Wakefield in July after plans  to close children's centres were announced
A protest in Wakefield in July after plans to close children's centres were announced
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PARENTS have spoken of their sadness after Wakefield Council’s cabinet committee approved plans to close 11 of the 23 children’s centres the local authority runs.

Members of the committee approved the closure of the centres after a consultation process.

The council faces £185m in budget cuts over the next five years.

Children’s centres are set to close at Castleford, Knottingley, Pontefract, Upton, South Kirkby, Flanshaw, Gawthorpe, Horbury, Wrenthorpe, South Elmsall and Havercroft.

Suzy Jones, 41, of Ryhill near Pontefract, said Havercroft Children’s Centre provided a lifeline when her four-year-old daughter Iris was younger.

Miss Jones, who works as part-time cabin crew for Thompson out of Doncaster Airport, said: “It’s incredibly sad.

“I would never have got through those first years of having a child without their support.”

She added: “It is not fair on the people who don’t drive, the people who are more isolated.

“People don’t often ring for help but if it is there they will go and take it.”

Caroline Vyse, 33, regularly takes her two-year-old daughter Scarlett to the Sunflower children’s centre at South Elmsall.

She said: “I think it is the wrong decision.

“I don’t have any family in this area.

“For me, the centre is a lifeline. It gives us somewhere to go, to meet people and get advice. That’s going to be gone now.”

Wakefield Council chiefs say they will be closing buildings but providing more services from fewer children’s centres closer to where people live and to meet the needs of communities.

Coun Les Shaw said: “Changes of this magnitude are always difficult, but it has been proved working out in the community has been very successful.”