Help for ‘vulnerable’ parents and children protected from budget cuts by Hammersmith and Fulham council

Vital children’s centres in Hammersmith and Fulham will be saved from budget cuts, promised the council this week.

Fears arose that with government austerity measures reducing council budgets the service, which costs £2 million a year to run, would be slashed.

The council have announced they are committed to protecting the children’s centres, which offer valuable help to children and parents, and are even looking at ways they can expand the service.

“Children’s centres are extremely important to some of our most vulnerable parents and their children,” said Councillor Sue Macmillan, cabinet member for children and education.

“They are a hugely valuable community asset and we are looking creatively at how the services they provide can be extended and improved.”

The council took similar measures to protect services for children in 2011 by keeping open their Sure Start centres while many across the country were forced to close.

Parents can use the centres as soon as the child is born and are welcome to attend if they are ever in need of help or advice.

Some centres in the area even offer free childcare to parents of two-year-olds from disadvantaged families.

One of these centres is The Masbro in Hammersmith, which offers children a place to play and advice and support for parents.

“The Masbro is where you can take your children to play in a safe and friendly environment where you know they will be happy and stimulated,” said a Hammersmith mother.

The council are now looking at ways that they can expand the service.

One idea they are considering is to get better links with local voluntary groups, health services and early intervention services in order to offer a holistic service to parents.

Investment will also be made in public health services to ensure children have a healthy future meaning the children’s centres continue to be an important part of the local area.

Michael Pettavel, head of the Randolph Beresford Early Years Centre, said: “Our children, families and community are a rich source of inspiration to us and we work hard to respond to what they need.”

The centres target struggling parents and the fact that they are to stay open, expand and improve will improve the well-being of children and their families across the borough.

Picture courtesy of casch52, with thanks

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