'Lifeline' crèche must be saved, say Ipswich mums over fears Crown Pools service faces axe
PUBLISHED: 16:09 01 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:14 01 February 2017
A group of Ipswich mothers who fear a "lifeline" crèche at Crown Pools will be axed have set up a petition to save it.
Julie Bloomfield, who is leading the campaign, has used the facility since her son Theo was seven weeks old – he is now almost three.
Controversial plans to stop the service – and two others held at Gainsborough and Whitton sports centres – will be scrutinised at a meeting of Ipswich Borough Council’s overview and scrutiny committee tomorrow evening.
“For many of us mums it’s a lifeline,” said Ms Bloomfield, who lives in Ipswich town centre.
“I’ve been using the crèche since my son was seven weeks old, and it has been brilliant for me. It was nice when he was very young because I could go for a swim and relax in the pool while knowing my son was safe in the same building.
“We’ve set up this campaign because it is such an essential service and we don’t want to lose it because of cost.
She added: “There’s a group of us running it and the petition itself has had more than 100 signatures now so you can see the proposition is unpopular.”
Conservative councillors have criticised proposals to axe the services, which were drawn up last year after it was revealed the crèches cost an estimated £65,000 per year.
They also raised concerns over the fact a public consultation has not yet been held into the plans and said they are “unclear” in their current state.
Tomorrow’s meeting will address such suggestions and scrutinise the proposals before any decision is made.
Ms Bloomfield said she and her fellow campaigners are happy to contribute to the cost of the crèche themselves.
She added: “It is that essential and such a lifeline to us.
“There is one Spanish lady among us who does not have any family here and she relies on it, so it is very essential for her.”
A borough council spokesman said the council’s proposals are being discussed at the overview and scrutiny committee meeting tomorrow evening.
He was unable to comment further.