Stanley Children’s Centre Stay & Play – politically speaking in the Wakefield Express

Politically Speaking in the Wakefield Express

The summer is here and families are planning for the long holidays. I know what a task it can be to keep the kids entertained.

For many families the summer will include a family holiday either here in the UK or abroad. But for some – a growing number this year – getting away just isn’t an option.

I know from my casework how difficult things still are for very many local families, especially those with small children. Many jobs are still under threat and prices for childcare and everyday essentials have gone up much faster than pay.

So I’ve again put together my annual newsletter for parents with local activities going on over the summer. Contact my office for your copy or check it out at www.edballs.com.

Chatting to parents at a ’stay and play’ session in Outwood on Monday, I could tell what a big difference it makes to have activities going on locally.

The Outwood ’stay and play’ was organised by the fantastic team at our Stanley children’s centre. They have a wide range of activities going on over the summer.

But as Express readers will know, there is currently a question mark over the future of some of our children’s centres services.

Wakefield Council is grappling once again with budgets that have been significantly scaled back by central Government. Understandably it is looking for savings – and that includes taking a long, hard look at the services provided by children’s centres.

It was clear from the parents I spoke to on Monday that they strongly value their local children’s centre and the services it provides. “It’s a total lifeline” one parent told me.

For some they are a place to come for midwife and health visitor appointments or a support network. For others, having a tough time, they can be a safe haven, a source of advice about a challenging child or a lifeline if trying to flee a violent partner or dealing with post-natal depression.

But the children’s centres themselves, including our centres in Stanley and Wrenthorpe, are only part of the story. Staff spend a great deal of time carrying out outreach work to ensure that the families and children most in need of support and help, get access to the services they need.

As I know from my work in Westminster, the hard work of those in children’s services can be difficult to measure; a child protected, a family supported, a mum helped though a difficult patch. I believe that, even in difficult times, services for local parents and children must be supported and improved.

So as the consultation on the future of our local children’s centres gets under way, I want to hear about local parents’ experiences. Did you access services on offer at one of our local children’s centres? What help did they give to your family?

Please email me at ed@edballs.com or contact my office on 0113 253 9466.

ENDS

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Posted August 1st, 2014 by Ed