As some readers may know I am standing for Southend Council in May and the ward which I am standing in has been in the news today. The Sure Start centre Little Treasures in Electric Avenue was set to close under that guise in the budget but that changed following parent power and a bit of common sense.
The centre will still officially be closed as a Children’s Centre but the Council along with the Elim Church will work together to ensure that the services currently provided by the centre are maintained. Whilst the 23 hours of weekly Sure Start care would be decreased to between 8-12 hours a week, that is by far a better alternative than closing it down altogether.
Now whilst the Echo are (rightly) saying that the Centre has been saved due to parent power I think it would be remiss of me not to point out the quite excellent work the Lib Dem councillor in the ward did. Paul Collins spent a lot of time organising a petition and spent even more time in the ear of the Tory councillor who is responsible for Children & Learning under the cabinet system of Southend Council.
He isn’t the only reason the centre will stay open but he did play a major part in ensuring that the services provided by the centre wouldn’t be lost forever and that is something that I think should be celebrated and commended.
These are the things that local councillors can do to help make life better for people locally. We often get worked up about the big national issues but for many people Sure Start is just as important as taxes and what the foreign policy is.
So a huge well done to all involved – from all the parents to Cllr Paul Collins and give Cllr Mark Flewitt his due for listening to what everyone was telling him and working out a way to ensure Little Treasures stays open.
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