Felixstowe: Children’s centre loss will ‘hit whole community’

Council candidate David Rowe, councillor Margaret Morris, campaigner Corinne Franklin, and Parliamen

Council candidate David Rowe, councillor Margaret Morris, campaigner Corinne Franklin, and Parliamentary candidate Russell Whiting outside the Sea Breeze Children's Centre in Felixstowe, which they are campaigning to save from closure. - Credit: Archant

More than 400 people have so far signed a petition calling for the proposed closure of a children’s centre to be abandoned.

Campaigners are urging people to respond to the consultation over the future of the Sea Breeze centre in Felixstowe and say the loss of the facility will hit families living in one of the most deprived areas in Suffolk.

County councillors are considering closing nine children’s centres as part of cost-cutting plans.

Russell Whiting, the Labour Party’s Parliamentary candidate for Suffolk Coastal, said: “Residents use the Sea Breeze centre for everything from weighing babies to escaping domestic violence.

“This cut affects the whole community. We spoke to expectant women, parents and grandparents who are disgusted by this proposal.”

Council candidate David Rowe said cutting the service was short-sighted. He said: “It was heartbreaking to hear residents’ concerns at the loss of this vital facility. Many residents rely on the centre for support and assistance.”

Town and district councillor Margaret Morris said the response from residents was amazing with almost everyone signing the petition.

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One resident said they used the centre to weigh their baby and get general health advice and support. Another told how they had attended the Freedom programme which supports survivors of domestic violence.

Mrs Morris said: “To expect people to walk one mile or catch two buses to go to the Oaks Children’s Centre in Grange Road is totally unacceptable. It is a very long way with a buggy and young children.”

Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We want the precious resources we direct towards early years care to be focused as much as possible on the services that will make a difference, and not on buildings.”

To sign the petition, visit www.facebook.com/suffolkcoastallabour, or to comment on the consultation go to www.suffolk.gov.uk/consultations

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