Parents’ plea to save centre

Hilary King and Gareth Lewis (chair of the local advisory committee) outside the Gomersal and Littletown SureStart centre. They have set up a petition calling for services at the centre to be protected from government and council cutbacks. (d02031144)
Hilary King and Gareth Lewis (chair of the local advisory committee) outside the Gomersal and Littletown SureStart centre. They have set up a petition calling for services at the centre to be protected from government and council cutbacks. (d02031144)
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PROTESTERS will hold a peaceful demonstration outside the Gomersal and Littletown SureStart children’s centre on Wednesday, demanding protection from government cuts.

SureStart centres across the country are bracing themselves for changes as councils try to balance their books.

Kirklees is reviewing its services for children and young people, and while no decisions have yet been made, those using the centre at St Mary’s School in Gomersal, are worried about the implication of any changes.

Gareth Lewis, chairman of the local advisory board, said the centre had been an ‘absolute godsend’ to his family and countless others.

“When our first son was born my wife, Allie, had post-natal depression. Because both our families live a long way away, she felt isolated and alone when I was at work,” he said.

“One day she popped into the centre, she was immediately welcomed, given a cup of tea and the chance to chat which was a massive help.

“Then when our second son, Vaughn, was born there were serious complications and my wife almost died during childbirth. The support from the staff at SureStart was invaluable at this difficult time.

“When Allie later returned to work I decided to stay at home and while you might think children’s centres aren’t geared towards dads, in my experience nothing could be further from the truth. The boys and I love using the centre as do so many other families.”

The protest is at 10am.