03/04/2011 13:33 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Mums Take Sure Start Cuts Campaign To Downing Street

David Cameron at Sure Start centre A group of mums have used Mother's Day to take their campaign against cuts to Sure Start Children's Centres to Downing Street.

Mums and their toddlers from local campaigns across England have handed in a petition against cuts and closures of the centres, signed by 50,000 people.

No Cuts for Kids campaign in response to the cuts.

Campaigns represented on Sunday included mothers from Lambeth, Hampshire, Manchester, Camden, Stoke, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kirklees and Derby who collected signatures online and on paper.

After handing their petition in to Number 10, some 30 parents and their children sang nursery rhymes and painted faces.

Organiser Ms King said: "On the day the nation's thoughts turn to mothers and the job they do, we wanted to highlight the devastating impact that these cuts are having on mums and kids everywhere.

"Sure Start Children's Centres are a great leveller in our society. Kids from all walks of life mix and learn together.

"Parents can further their education and gain vital support. Take them away or force them to make cutbacks, and we'll see the next generation really suffer."

Shadow children's minister Sharon Hodgson called for the government to reinstate the ringfence to the Sure Start budget.

She said she knew of some centres that were seeing their budgets reduced from £450,000 to £19,000 a year but still being called Children's Centres.

"This is not enough to fund a children's centre, it would only fund a caretaker and bottle of bleach," she added.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "We have ensured there is enough money in the system to maintain a network of Sure Start Children's Centres, and provided new investment for health visitors.

"Local authorities have a legal duty to provide sufficient children's centre provision for the families in their areas and must consult local communities properly before closing or changing children's centres.

"Good local authorities are restructuring with care and making sensible changes - for example through 'clustering' of centres - so they can continue to provide much-needed services for families, but in a more efficient way."

What do you think?
Do you use a Sure Start centre? Is it under threat?

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