FIGURES released by the Department for Education have revealed that the number of Sure Start children’s centres being closed has increased every year since 2010 – including those in Salford.
The statistics show that the number of closures in 2015 was almost double that recorded in 2014 when 85 ceased operation.
As of 31 October 2016, there were 3,259 main children’s centres and sites open to families and children providing services as part of a network.
Shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said the closures meant “shutting the door in the faces of children who need help the most.”
“As a former Sure Start mum, I know the difference these centres can make to working families and how they help get children on the right road to fulfilling their potential.
“These closure figures are very worrying – they mean wasted opportunity for too many children.”
Eight children’s centres across Salford have been merged to create four main hubs offering a range of services to all families. Services include midwifery clinics, speech and language sessions, parenting classes and health clinics.”
Councillor Lisa Stone, Lead Member for Children’s and Young People’s Services in Salford, said: “Government funding cuts in the face of increasing costs and demand were putting councils in a very difficult position.”
“In Salford, we have lost 47% of our funding from the government since 2010. That’s equal to £64,000 each and every day being taken out of vital council services.
“We had to cut £1 million from our budget for children’s centres in 2014, so it became a choice between buildings or services and jobs.
“Some of the space previously used by children’s centres went back to schools to cope with increased demand for school places and we chose to sacrifice buildings to protect services and jobs.”